The Knicks were practicing on Tuesday, getting ready to set the new foundation head coach Tom Thibodeau says must happen before the start of each season. However, one lone Knick was on the side getting individual work in.
“He’s doing what he can,” Thibodeau told reporters on Tuesday after practice. “He does some parts, but we’re going to take it slowly with him.”
But make no mistake, Thibodeau recognizes how crucial of a piece Robinson is for his team. And the 7-foot-1 center was doing everything he could to be prepared for when he returns.
“Mitchell, it’s encouraging because each day he’s doing more and more,” Thibodeau said. “And he feels really good, which I think is important. He’s put a lot of time into film study and he’s done things where he was sitting in a chair and handling the ball, shooting out of a chair, stationary shooting, form shooting, cardio in the pool, cardio on the bike. And as you guys can see, the physical difference, he’s done a lot of strength training. So he’s handled it as well as you can handle it.”
With the Knicks making the playoffs last season, they definitely could’ve used Robinson’s presence down low with Nerlens Noel. Instead, Taj Gibson was starting games against the Atlanta Hawks and New York’s rim presence was lacking throughout the series.
Still, Thibodeau believes it was a learning experience for Robinson, even though he wasn’t on the court.
“I think sometimes when you have some time off like that, you can take a step back and get a broader view of everything and I think he has a good understanding of how practice and preparation is and just observing the playoffs last year,” Thibodeau said. “When you go back through the season, he had a number of big games against quality teams for us.”
Thibodeau added that rim protection is key for teams now based on “the way the game is played now and the way the game is officiated.” So having Robinson and Noel at his disposal each night will be a big advantage for his defensive-minded squad.
That’s why it’s a slow play for the former second-round selection. The more cautious the Knicks are, the more at ease they will feel when he can lace them up and put the Knicks threads back on to help this playoff contender in 2021.
Source: Yahoo Sports