On March 25, the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Isaiah Hartenstein from the Denver Nuggets. The Cavs exchanged JaVale McGee for Hartenstein and two second-round picks. Hartenstein is a young 22-year-old center standing at 7-foot. Cleveland hopes Hartenstein can be a productive center off the bench, backing up the starting center Jarrett Allen.
First Four Games
So far Hartenstein has played very well for the Cavaliers. On the other hand, this is a small sample size since he has only played four games with Cleveland. Still, Hartenstein is averaging over 20 minutes per game and is taking advantage of the opportunity.
Over his career, Hartenstein only averages 3.6 points per game while playing barely over 10 minutes per game. With Cleveland, the young center is averaging 10.5 points per game while playing over 22 minutes per game. Also, Hartenstein is shooting efficiently, rebounding well and defending the rim in his last four games.
Isaiah Hartenstein stats ever since he was traded to the Cavs:
How will you grade his first 4 games as a Cavalier? pic.twitter.com/gBZZIbOWnE
— 𝙧𝙚𝙞𝙣 (@cavsrein) April 6, 2021
Furthermore, Hartenstein is coming off a monster game in Cleveland’s win against the Spurs. He scored 16 points while shooting 7/8 from the field. In addition, Hartenstein corralled 12 rebounds along with three assists and one block. Certainly, he has been a pleasant surprise for the Cavaliers.
Worth the Trade?
Considering Hartenstein’s production so far, was the trade worth it for the Cavs? For months, Cleveland made it known they were looking to trade McGee. As previously mentioned, the Cavaliers received Hartenstein and two second-rounders from Denver.
FULL TRADE DETAILS:
Nuggets – JaVale McGee
Cavs – Isaiah Hartenstein, Two 2nd-round picks
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) March 25, 2021
It never seemed like Cleveland had any intention of keeping McGee since acquiring him from the Lakers. Since the Cavs traded for Allen, McGee hardly played in Cleveland. Also, it is clear the Cavs are attempting to build a very young core, so the 33-year-old McGee was not going to have a long stay in Cleveland.
The Cavaliers just wanted to unload McGee and got some decent return value for him. If Hartenstein maintains a production even close to his last four games, the trade was certainly worth it. Further, Hartenstein could get better since he is so young. Cleveland’s heavily criticized general manager Koby Altman may have won this trade.
Looking forward, Cleveland’s frontcourt might be set. Allen of course seems to be the Cavs’ franchise center. In addition, Larry Nance Jr. is having a very nice season this year. Kevin Love seems to be going no where anytime soon, but if he gets healthy he could produce again. Hartenstein will likely stay put in Cleveland if he continues to produce off the bench.
The Cavaliers should feel pretty comfortable with their frontcourt right now. They have good starting big men and solid depth behind it. Of course, this is assuming their frontcourt can get healthy. Love has hardly played this season, but does have an All-Star background. Nance has dealt with several injuries this year as well. However, Nance has been good when he has played and many teams gauged Cleveland’s interest in trading him. Obviously Nance is a nice asset to have.
Hartenstein’s surprising production is another step in the right direction for Cleveland. Once again, Hartenstein has only played four games so far. He could just be on a hot streak right now, but who knows what happens going forward. He seems skilled enough to potentially be a good bench player. Hartenstein is a player to keep an eye on as the Cavaliers continue their rebuild.
All stats courtesy of ESPN and Basketball-Reference