This under-the-radar player is key to the Knicks title hopes

New York Knicks v Indiana Pacers - Game Four
New York Knicks v Indiana Pacers - Game Four / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

Even if they don’t always get the credit they deserve, big men can make a big impact on NBA playoff games. As Jalen Brunson dropped 44 points in the Knicks 121-91 Game 5 win over the Indiana Pacers, Isaiah Hartenstein flew somewhat under the radar while supplying numerous hustle plays that helped New York grab a 3-2 series lead. While doing so, the 26-year-old swiped down a whopping 17 rebounds, 12 of which were offensive boards.

“I was physical. I feel like the games in Indiana, I wasn’t playing like myself, wasn’t physical,” Hartenstein told the New York Post. “I was letting them kind of play how I play, so just coming in, that was the biggest thing I wanted to do.”

Isaiah Hartenstein could prove to be a major factor for the New York Knicks.

Such a performance should not go unnoticed, especially with how many injuries the Knicks are currently working through. OG Anunoby will most likely be out for the rest of New York’s second-round series due to a strained hamstring. Mitchell Robinson is out for the playoffs after, and Jalen Brunson is dealing with an undisclosed foot injury.

Hartenstein has been a key offensive part of the Knicks attack, and even if you (rightfully) feel there are better centers in the association, you have to admit that he has complemented this Knicks’ team.

The Knicks faced criticism for their lack of pure scorers, but Hartenstein has tried to be a key facilitator. Importantly, he’s also used his floater in key spots.Hartenstein may not determine the outcome of the series against the Pacers, but he could be a vital part of New York’s plan.