Thursday, December 9 2021
Mitchell Robinson grips New York jersey

Mitchell Robinson grips New York jersey

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson played in just 31 games during the 2020-21 season after missing 15 games with a fractured hand and then suffering a fractured foot on March 27 that required surgery.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau spoke to media on Friday ahead of the start of training camp, and touched on Robinson’s health and the expectations the team has for him this season. The big man is still not yet cleared from his foot injury, but has been working hard over the summer to get ready to play again.

“Mitch, I thought last year, was really starting to take off when he got hurt,” Thibodeau said. “And then obviously, he had the set back. And this summer he’s put in a lot of time. He hasn’t been able to play. He’s put a lot of time into conditioning, strength and conditioning and whatever he’s allowed to do – being in the pool, weight training, form shooting, watching a lot of film.

“So he’s a big part of what we’re gonna do and we’re following what our medical people are saying. There’s a plan in place. And we’re not going to rush, we’re going to take it step by step.”

Robinson averaged 8.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game over an average of 27.5 minutes per game. He’s shown promise on the defensive side of the ball as a rim defender, in addition to shooting 70.5 percent from the field over his three-year career.

With Robinson sidelined, the Knicks turned to big man Nerlens Noel at center in the starting lineup. Noel, at 26 years old, was very productive over 64 games (41 starts) in his seventh year in the league. He gave the Knicks a defensive presence at the rim, averaging a career-high 2.2 blocks per game.

Thibodeau acknowledged how valuable Noel was for the team last season, and expects Robinson to find his way on the court once he’s fully healthy.

“That was the great value in having Nerlens. Nerlens stepped into the starting position and he was terrific. The thing we love about Taj [Gibson] – you can start Taj, you can bring Taj off the bench or Taj will sit there and just be a great teammate and he’ll wait to be called upon and he’s always ready to go.

“So we love the depth at that position. But we like where Mitch [is] and the way he’s grown, professionally. We’re excited about the season, we’ll see how it unfolds but we’re not going to rush, we’re going step by step.”

Robinson is in the final year of his contract and is set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2022. The Knicks are reportedly open to re-signing Robinson, as team president Leon Rose spoke about negotiations with the 23-year-old center.

“It’s a work in progress and as far as contract goes, we love Mitchell Robinson and we look forward to seeing him play,” Rose said.

Source: Yahoo Sports


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