Analyst tabs surging Knicks big as player who 'checks a lot of boxes' for Grizzlies

New York Knicks v Memphis Grizzlies
New York Knicks v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages

The 2024 NBA Playoffs are officially underway, and while the Memphis Grizzlies may be on the outside looking in on the festivities for the first time in four years this exhilarating stage of the season is still a period when the team's personnel should be paying close attention.

On top of scouting out possible threats to the club's claim for a hopeful title run once fully healthy in 2024-25, the postseason presents an opportunity for Zach Kleiman and company to pinpoint potential offseason targets as they look to bolster coach Taylor Jenkins' talent pool.

At full strength, this Grizzlies team boasts one of the most lethal rosters in the entire association with headliners Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Desmond Bane leading the charge. However, even with these stars, Memphis still sports a few rotational weaknesses, with easily their most notable being their lackluster center depth.

Following their mid-season sell-off that saw Steven Adams and Xavier Tillman be sent packing, many questions have arisen regarding the future of the club's pivot position. Fortunately, the front office seems to be well aware of this less-than-ideal frontcourt situation and has vowed to address it this coming summer.

At this point in time, it's anyone's guess what Kleiman and co. will do to try and find a competent resident to fill their vacated five spot. Many ideas have been brought to light of late, with some suggesting the Grizzlies may want to use their incoming lottery pick as a way to find an answer.

However, Joe Mullinax of Locked on Grizzlies seems to believe a different course of action could be beneficial, as he suggested on a recent episode of the podcast that the franchise may want to consider the idea of pursuing surging New York Knicks big Isaiah Hartenstein this offseason.

Isaiah Hartenstein tabbed as possible offseason target for Grizzlies

"[Isaiah Hartenstein] makes a lot of sense for Memphis. He checks a lot of boxes if the Grizzlies wanted to go that route... He is a talented big who is a solid rim protector, has a pretty impressive frame, able to set strong screens. He does a lot of the things for New York that Memphians loved watching Steven Adams do for the Grizzlies. 7-foot tall, 250 pounds, this is a guy who can do a lot of things for the Grizzlies and he's only 25 years old... He fits the timeline."

Joe Mullinax

Hartenstein has had himself a career year in 2023-24, posting impressive per-game averages of 7.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.1 blocks while shooting 64.4 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from deep.

He's only proving himself to be a highly dependable starting five even more under the bright lights of this year's postseason, as he finds himself coming off of a tremendous Game 2 showing squaring off against reigning MVP Joel Embiid where he registered 14 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 blocks to lead the Knicks to a 2-0 series lead.

A savvy defender who prioritizes gobbling up boards and can space the floor, the sixth-year pro has the makings of being a quality add to this Grizzlies team and, considering he'll be a free agent this coming offseason, such a hypothetical could actually become a reality.

Of course, with his surge in play will likely come an uptick in his asking price on the open market, which is a situation Mullinax addressed in his segment on the big, noting that he's "probably going to make more than what Memphis can offer in terms of a mid-level exception."

In response to this, the analyst proposed the idea of a possible sign-and-trade scenario involving the likes of Ziaire Williams and draft capital heading out to the Big Apple as an option to ponder on for the Grizzlies.