Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni confirms Isaiah Hartenstein has earned backup center role after double-double stretch
Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni has promoted Isaiah Hartenstein to a center back-up role after averaging a double-double in the last three games.
Isaiah Hartenstein has earned the Rockets’ backup center role by averaging 14.7 points and 11.3 rebounds over the last three games. “For right now, for sure,” Mike D’Antoni said.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 1, 2020
Isaiah Hartenstein, who averages just 14.7 minutes per game, saw his playing time drastically increase to 25.3 minutes per contest in the last three games. In the Rockets’ win over the Brooklyn Nets, Clint Capela sat out with a bruised right heel. The 21-year-old took his place in the starting five where he logged in nine points and 14 rebounds in 24 minutes of action.
In the Rockets’ loss to the New Orleans Pelicans — the 7-footer chipped in 19 points and nine rebounds in 34 minutes of play. And in their New Year’s Eve win over the Denver Nuggets, even with Capela back in the roster, he put on another stellar performance with 16 points and 12 rebounds in 18 minutes.
While Mike D’Antoni affirmed the 2017 2nd round pick’s place in the rotation, the coach still pointed out the things that need to be ironed out in his game. Per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, the veteran coach said:
“Just can’t make silly fouls, can’t get us in the bonus the first two minutes he gets into the game. He’ll always have energy. It comes from a good place. It comes from wanting to play. OK, I get it. But he has to be able to be smart, solid. We just need guys who are solid and don’t make mistakes.”
Indeed, the second-year pro’s rise is a welcome sign for all Rockets fans. Their roster is deeper and lethal than what everyone initially thought.