With the 43rd pick in the draft, the Rockets took 7-footer Isaiah Hartenstein.
Last year, Hartenstein played seldomly for Zalgiris, a Lithuanian club. It is likely that the Rockets are using this pick to draft & stash him in Europe or Rio Grande Valley, as he is only nineteen. However, he is a very raw talent and that upside can develop itself in a few years.
He has an NBA body at 7’1” and 225 pounds. An easy comparison for Hartenstein is former Rocket Donatas Motiejunas, as both have played in the Lithuanian professional league. Both players are the same size and have similar attributes on both ends of the floor.
NBA Draft sites had Hartenstein ranked higher than the 43rd pick, giving the Rockets tremendous value to take him when they did. Draft Express had him going 36 to the Sixers and ranked him 19th in terms of prospects, ahead of 12 first rounders, including Heat lottery pick Bam Adebayo. NBAdraft.net had Hartenstein going 27th to the Lakers, which is as high as any draft website has him. The Rockets were able to snag him sixteen spots after that. According to Jonathan Givony, a big reason why he fell down draft boards was a back injury.
Isaiah Hartenstein dropped dramatically when he was red-flagged by NBA doctors with a back condition. Landed at 43 with Houston in the end.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 23, 2017
The chances of Hartenstein seeing the roster next season are slim, but it is a pick with a lot of upside and potential. Also, if the Rockets decide to stash Hartenstein, it will not count against their cap for the season, and as the Rockets are trying to create cap space, this is a very prototypical Morey pick.