Cavs: We should see more 3 attempts from Isaiah Hartenstein

Cleveland Cavaliers big Isaiah Hartenstein shoots the ball. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers big Isaiah Hartenstein shoots the ball. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

From the likes of it, the Cleveland Cavaliers appear to have gotten a steal in Isaiah Hartenstein. Acquired near the 2021 trade deadline from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for JaVale McGee and two future second-round picks, Hartenstein did a nice job when he was in there for Cleveland.

As a rotational 5, Hartenstein made the most of his newfound opportunities, of which were few and far between first with the Houston Rockets in NBA action, and then even with some of a role with Denver, albeit not much of one.

In 16 games during this now-past season with the Cavaliers, Hartenstein had averages of 8.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 blocks in 17.9 minutes per outing.

For a player that didn’t play much with Houston in his first two seasons aside from with their G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and then played more so in spot minutes with Denver, his production for Cleveland was notable.

The Cavs look to have gotten a nice acquisition in the 23-year-old, at least as a backup 5. Hartenstein demonstrated quality touch with both hands as a finisher inside and via push shots, was a functional roller/lob threat, altered his share of shots inside and blocked his share, and as a passer, was very impressive.

To me, based on what he showed before missing closing stretch games because of a concussion, to a large extent, Cleveland would be wise to re-sign Hartenstein.

That’s in the event that he doesn’t choose to pick up his $1.8 million player option, and from a security/years standpoint for him and with what he displayed when given more of a role with the Cavs, I’d think Hartenstein will eventually decline that.

That said, I would imagine Cleveland could potentially re-sign Hartenstein via pretty team-friendly deal, for perhaps $4-6 million per year, for say, two years? I’d think that could play out and that he and Jarrett Allen, assuming he is eventually locked up, could form quite the 1-2 5 man duo next season/looking on from there.

Anyway, in the scenario that Hartenstein is back next season, I would think there’s a good chance that we could see more of one thing, in particular, with him; that’s more catch-and-shoot three-point attempts.

We should see more three attempts from Hartenstein with the Cavs.

Hartenstein is not a guy that’s a floor spacing presence horizontally at this point; at the NBA level, he’s only attempted 17 three-pointers in three seasons. He’s hit four of those, which has been a 23.5 percent hit rate.

It’s evident that Hartenstein’s looks are going to come mostly in the paint/near the rim. I’m not suggesting otherwise, either, and again that’s in the event that he’s back with Cleveland. I’d expect those to come at times via low-post touches, cutting looks, lobs from Darius Garland/Cedi Osman and push shots.

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Aside from those though, while I’m not suggesting we’ll see them in every game he’s available from here, I’d expect to see more attempts from three for Hartenstein for the most part game-to-game.

In his 16 games active with Cleveland in 2020-21, he attempted six of those looks, and made two of them.

That’s obviously not a boatload of attempts, but even with the shot needing a bit of finetuning, given the especially high arc of it seeming to throw him off a bit at times, I do believe that he can improve as a catch-and-shoot threat. This upcoming offseason can pay off for him in that realm too, for example.

Additionally, even with it then being in G League play with the aforementioned Vipers, Hartenstein did take 2.4 and then 3.3 three-point attempts per outing in his last two seasons active with them. Albeit the hit rate was only 27.4 and 26.1 percent.

Nonetheless, the potential is there for Hartenstein if he can hone in that perimeter shooting some. And with how Cleveland’s player development staff has aided the likes of Larry Nance Jr. in the catch-and-shoot realm, along with Collin Sexton, with Hartenstein’s touch in other areas, I could foresee him progressing in that regard.

So next season, while I would again expect the vast majority of his shot attempts to be in the paint, I could foresee him fairly regularly attempted say, two three-point looks in games.

Averaging in the ball park of 1.5-1.7 three attempts per game could be feasibly in the cards for Hartenstein as a backup 5 I believe if there’s notable work there this offseason in the spot-up realm.

I could potentially foresee him take some pick-and-pops looks too from time to time, and work with the likes of Kevin Love/Dean Wade could help him in that way.

So, though those aforementioned 1.5-1.7 three attempts per contest might not sound like a bunch, doing so I believe would be a nice step for Hartenstein to show if he can be viable as a catch-and-shoot player, and could be an added wrinkle with him. That could eventually aid him on the interior/as a screener as well.

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We’ll have to see, but keep an eye out for that, under the assumption he’s back with the Cavs.