New York Giants: Taking a look at the 2021 preseason schedule

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants are going into the preseason in a couple of months, and unlike most preseasons, there will only be three games. This comes as a change due to the NFL’s move to a longer regular season schedule. One preseason game has been axed thanks to that, but the Giants have retained their usual matchup against the Jets and will also face another familiar preseason name, the Patriots.

We’ve known for a while which teams the Giants were going to play, but the details have finally been revealed as the NFL announced the dates of all of the scheduled preseason games.

The Giants are set to open up their slate on August 14th when they’ll take on the Jets, before going on the road to face the Cleveland Browns on August 22nd. Finally, they’ll come back home on the 29th to finish the preseason against New England.

Interestingly, the team has joint practices scheduled with two out of three of their preseason opponents. Despite sharing a stadium with the Jets, the Giants instead opted to schedule joint practices this offseason with both the Browns and the Patriots.

The latter, of course, isn’t surprising. Current Giants head coach Joe Judge is famously from the coaching tree of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and the Giants are one of a number of teams trying to take a page from the Patriots’ book in their own rebuilding process.

Whether you consider the preseason boring or not, it should be worth checking out this year. The Giants, after all, have made a number of important additions. This will be our first time seeing them on the field together, and there will likely be plenty of competition on the lower parts of the depth chart.

NASCAR: Kyle Larson keeps rolling, wins All-Star Race at Texas

An unconventional format and a hard push from Brad Keselowski weren’t enough to stop Kyle Larson’s NASCAR Cup Series takeover.

The NASCAR Cup Series’ All-Star break was no sanctuary for the continued domination of Kyle Larson and Hendrick Motorsports.

HMS’ No. 5 Chevrolet continued its take over of the premier racing circuit, taking home the million-dollar prize at the annual NASCAR All-Star Race, which was held at Texas Motor Speedway for the first time. Rather than points, Larson’s team takes home the seven-digit money prize traditionally bestowed to the winner. He would hold off a hard-charging Brad Keselowski over a ten-lap shootout to secure the victory, with HMS teammate Chase Elliott rounding out the top three. Larson is now one of eight drivers to win multiple All-Star Races, winning the last one he participated in (2019) as well. Each of the other seven drivers who have done so is a Cup champion, with another HMS legend, Jimmie Johnson, pacing the way with four.

“I think I felt him try to maybe take the air off my rear end to (turn) one once I got a little bit light getting into (the turn),” Larson said of his battle with Keselowski. “I could tell he was going to have to get desperate to do something and get a run on me, but thankfully our car was fast enough, he just couldn’t get those extra few feet.”

“Chase Elliott to me, is the most aggressive and best restarter, or one of the best restarters, especially from the front row, so that was, that was really cool (to beat him,” Larson added of the opening to the final decalogue before cheekily adding “To win a lot of money is awesome too.”

Larson has headlined a resurgence for the legendary HMS team, which has won each of the last four points races en route to passing Richard Petty’s Petty Enterprises for the most all-time. The No. 5 has triumphed in the last two and now takes home HMS’ record 10th victory in the All-Star exhibition. Elliott, the defending series champion, took home last year’s event at Bristol.

Sunday marked the All-Star Race’s first visit to Texas. The event was held annually at Charlotte Motor Speedway since 1987 but moved to Bristol Motor Speedway last season. NASCAR has not confirmed whether the All-Star event will continue to tour in 2022 and beyond. With his victory, Larson becomes the first driver to win the All-Star Race at two different tracks.

A unique format was used for the maiden voyage in Fort Worth, as the 100-lap event was broken down into six stages. Each of the first four segments lasted 15 laps apiece and the latter three featured inversions that shifted the field and created more opportunities for passing. The penultimate stage lasted 30 laps, with each participant required to make a green-flag pit stop prior to the 20th circuit. Elliott’s No. 9 crew earned the fastest stop, netting a $100,000 bonus. Starting position for the fifth round was determined via an accumulation of results over the first four segments.

“I actually kind of enjoyed it,” Larson said of the format. “I don’t know if this is a format that will work at every track, but I feel like for Texas it worked. I think the mandatory green-flag stop at the end was kind of cool.”

As the final stage loomed, it appeared that the exhibition would once again come down to an HMS civil war between Larson and Elliott. But Keselowski, the last driver to make his mandatory stop, held on to the lead when a caution flag (accounting for the spinning car of Ross Chastain) flew shortly after his service, his No. 2 Team Penske Ford serving as an invader to the monopoly. Though Elliott faded late, Larson held to secure the victory.

The NASCAR Cup Series resumes its season on Sunday afternoon, as the circuit will debut at Nashville Superspeedway for the Ally 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Race Notes

  • Chastain, who finished 18th, advanced to the main All-Star event by winning the first of three stages at the All-Star Open held shortly beforehand. He was joined by Tyler Reddick (16th) and Aric Almirola (8th), as well as Matt DiBenedetto (17th), who won the fate vote to earn the last invitation.

 

  • Keselowski’s teammates Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five.

For full results, click here.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Liberty: Three stars from Sunday’s win at Phoenix

The New York Liberty earned a huge win sans Sabrina Ionescu, topping the Phoenix Mercury in a gutsy road performance.

The New York Liberty earned a gutsy win without the services of Sabrina Ionescu on Sunday night.

Betnijah Laney took over in a performance that left her three rebounds away from a triple-double, while Jazmine Jones came through big in the fourth quarter to steal an 85-83 win over the Phoenix Mercury at Phoenix Suns Arena. The Liberty (6-4) ended a three-game losing streak and overcame a combined 50-point effort from Brittney Griner (27) and Skylar Diggins-Smith. New York jumped out to a 17-point lead despite losing Ionescu to an ankle injury, though head coach Walt Hopkins claimed the top pick of the 2020 draft “just needed a rest”.

ESM awards the game balls from Sunday’s big win…

3rd Star: Kylee Shook

10 points, 5 rebounds

Shook’s trial by fire in the defensive paint, as she was tasked with posting up on Griner. She was praised for making things difficult for the fearsome interior threat and Shook also started to capitalize on her open three-point looks. A pair of early triples allowed her to come one point short of her infantile career-best.

“There’s no question in my mind Kylee can knock down threes at a really high rate,” Hopkins said of Shook. “She’s one of our best shooters, every day in practice. She’s been like that since the preseason, but for her to get a couple to go down and get that confidence was great. I think that the growth for her is continuing to understand how to be physical without fouling, and how to use her strength and her size.”

2nd Star: Jazmine Jones

16 points, 7 rebounds

Sunday was deja vu all over again for Jones, who previously rose to the occasion for an Ionescu-less Liberty in the Bradenton bubble last season. Having earned extra minutes, Jones overcame a first half where she struggled to cash in on open looks (shooting 1-of-7 from the field) to come up huge in the final frame, tallying all but two of her points in the last ten minutes, hitting five of her six attempts. The biggest bucket came in the game’s penultimate minute, when a triple gave the Liberty a two-possession lead that made things that more difficult for the Mercury on their final possessions.

“Jaz really put us on her back in the fourth quarter,” Hopkins said of Jones. “She kept the offense going, played some great defense. The spark that she is is really remarkable.”

1st Star: Betnijah Laney

23 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds

After a one-game pause, Laney’s 20-point endeavors carried on in the desert on Sunday. With the Liberty citing their starts as a major area of concern, Laney made sure that wasn’t an issue, earning 17 points in the first half to help New York build its lead. While the Mercury mostly held her in check in the latter frames, Laney came up with some clutch baskets in the dying stages, including the de facto game-winning jumper with 34 seconds to go.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Tottenville Pirates women’s lacrosse team defeats covid in shortened season

The 2021 Tottenville high school women’s lacrosse team refused to let a global pandemic stop them from playing the game they love. 

Staten Island, NY- The last time the Tottenville Pirates lacrosse team played a PSAL game was in May of 2019. The team had just lost the game in the city championships to Fort Hamilton and most believed that would be the hardest thing they would have to endure through in their young lives. 

Unfortunately, there was something looming larger in their future.

The Covid-19 pandemic would shut the city and the country down. The upcoming PSAL lacrosse season, along with all high school sports, would be canceled for the 2020 season.

3rd-year head coach Megan Kane, a star player for Tottenville when she attended the school, never thought her next season would be canceled.

Coach Kane had the tireless job of trying to keep her team intact knowing at the same time that her seniors would be graduating without ever playing another high school varsity game.  She even managed to have an “unofficial” senior night in an Applebee’s parking lot to recognize the girls that would be graduating that year.

 A year later and a surprise announcement

In February of this year, the Department of Education and the PSAL announced that they would have an abbreviated PSAL season in all sports. Coach Kane would have the opportunity to coach a new batch of players and see her seniors gave one more season to play.  For the new members of this team, they would now have a chance to experience playing varsity lacrosse.

The logistics to play were a huge hurdle for this team and the school to overcome. Three weeks of conditioning followed by three more weeks of practice, which included Covid testing, was a challenge the girls had to deal with if they wanted to play this year.

How this team was built

When this season began the team had just seven seniors and only four players who were on the team from 2019 championship game.

The rest of the team would have to learn on the fly to adjust to the different speeds and technical positioning they have never experienced before.

Led on to the field by senior captains Alyssa Curto, Oliva Helf, Sierra Rogers,  Kailey Giasi, Chelsea Mc Keon, and Nicole Gatto, the responsibility to help the underclassman on and off the field landed on their shoulders. Long runs, hard practices, and the ongoing learning of the game were the daily grind the team endured. It was a road these girls took that propelled them back to the game that was in doubt months earlier.

The constant reminder of being shut down due to a positive covid test wore on the minds of these girls every day. They could ill afford to have a case surface within the team as the team knew there would be no rescheduling of games if they had a game canceled.

The girls had to take Covid tests before practices and at one point during practice.  These Pirates just kept the eye on the ball ( lacrosse ball that is) and did whatever needed to keep playing. They were also required to wear their masks even while playing games, something that was difficult to adjust to, but a necessary policy to stay on the field.

Together as a team, the Pirates formed a bond to stand talk against whatever was thrown their way. They have an undeniable ability to have one another’s back during games.

Senior Day 2021

It’s June 11 and this year’s senior day is back where it belongs.  On the field of Tottenville HS.  The senior’s pictures have all been hung on the fence behind the player’s bench with balloons and ribbons waving through the wind. Parents and friends are cheering the girls on, fans attending games was another last minutes decision by the powers in charge, as the Pirates host the Curtis Warriors.

The underclassmen line up arching their sticks as each senior gets their moment to run through and enjoy the moment they richly deserve. It’s a tradition all schools hold, but this year it’s a little more special. This year the parents get their opportunity to cheer their girls on one more time

The Pirates currently have a 3-1 record, but the season is more about playing the game than the final score or team’s standings. For the girls, it was about getting back on the field and for the seniors, it was about being able to proudly say they played varsity lacrosse as a member of the Tottenville Pirates.

Just for the record, the Pirates defeated the Warriors which added to the special day the team, coaches and families were able to experience.

The Tottenville Pirates Women’s Lacrosse Team

These girls don’t play for the recognition and stories written about them.  They dedicated the last three months, six days a week to represent their school with pride and honor.

It’s my pleasure to announce this year roster:

Head Coach Megan Kane; Volunteer assistant coach James Manning, Volunteer assistant coach Gabe Artz.

Underclassman 

Maya Adeshchenko, Gianna Badamo, Joanna Basciano, Ella Capistrano, Sophia Corbett, Gianna De Lessio,     Keira De Morato, Halee Dipaola, Kate Gigliotti, Arianna Kim, Deanna Larocca, Emirjeta Maksudovska,             Nadia Michel, Samantha Mocerino, Natalia Perci, Meadow Sadeh, Jamie Timpanelli.

Seniors

Good luck to the team’s seven seniors as they head off to college.

Captain Chelsea Mc Keon
Captain Nicole Gatto
Captain Alyssa Curto
Captain Sierra Rogers
Captain Olivia Helf
Sophia Petrozzella
Captain Kailey Giasi

At the end of the day, these 24 girls won the moment they took the field on opening day. The girls continued a storied tradition at Tottenville High School, one that they were determined to see continue for years to come.

How the New York Giants might utilize Elerson Smith in his rookie season

The New York Giants added help on defense in the second half of this year’s draft. Four of the Giants’ six draft picks were spent on the defensive side of the ball in 2021. Two of those picks were invested into edge rushers. The Giants had a clear need on the edge entering the draft and addressed it with two solid, high-value draft picks.

The first edge rusher that the Giants landed was Azeez Ojulari in round two. Many expect Azeez to be an instant-impact starter on New York’s defense and a huge boost to the team’s pass-rush. The second edge rusher that the Giants drafted was Elerson Smith in the fourth round.

Elerson Smith is a player that stood out at the Senior Bowl and fans are excited by his potential. However, the Giants have a bunch of edge rushers on their roster currently, so it is hard to see Smith getting extended playing time in the regular season on the defensive side of the ball. Smith might be utilized in a couple of other niche roles, though, giving him a chance to make an impact as a rookie.

How Elerson Smith could be utilized as a rookie

Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines will return from injuries this season. Those two will likely see the lion’s share of snaps as the Giants’ starting edge rushers. That is until Azeez Ojulari comes into his own and starts to steal playing time. That trio of Ximines, Carter, and Ojulari will be the Giants’ main pass rushers on the edge.

Behind that trio is a slew of rushers like Ifeadi Odenigbo, Carter Coughlin, Ryan Anderson, Cam Brown, and, of course, Elerson Smith. It appears that Elerson Smith might be buried on the Giants’ depth chart this season. But that might not be the case.

Elerson Smith might see playing time as a rotational pass-rusher on the Giants’ defense. The Northern Iowa product has an uphill battle for playing time, but he has the tools to be a solid player. Smith is a lanky 6-foot 6-inch edge with 34-inch arms. He is a developmental pass-rusher who had 14 sacks in 2019. He might not be present much on the Giants’ defense in 2021, but Smith might see starter-level playing time in the game’s third phase: special teams.

Having a ridiculous wingspan like that will benefit Elerson Smith right off the bat. His long arms will make him a contributor right away on special teams. In 2019 at Northern Iowa, Elerson Smith blocked 2 field goal attempts. The Giants’ special teams was very inconsistent in 2020. Smith’s special teams background must have been considered when the Giants chose him in the fourth round. With his long arms and field goal-blocking skills, Elerson Smith will be able to contribute right away on the Giants’ special teams as he develops into a pass-rusher on the team’s defense.

Tatis Jr. Powers Padres To 7-3 Victory Over Mets to Avoid Sweep

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen wanted them to pull off a sweep of the San Diego Padres, and Fernando Tatis Jr. made sure it did not happen. His mammoth 444-foot grand slam broke a 2-2 tie, and they never looked back to escape New York with a 7-3 win.

Joey Lucchesi had another excellent, five-inning outing. He only allowed one run and struck out six but was taken out after 72 pitches. From this point, manager Luis Rojas began his numerous questionable decisions. Jeurys Familia replaced Lucchesi, and after escaping a busy sixth inning, he went back out for the seventh. Since the Mets had a short bullpen, they would have been better off trying to push Lucchesi, instead of Familia, for an extra-inning.

Throwing The White Flag

Rojas’s plan backfired, and Familia was left in for 41 pitches. He walked in the tying run and left Jacob Barnes to face Tatis Jr. with the bases loaded. Barnes was a horrible matchup for multiple reasons. He has allowed four home runs in 18.1 innings, Tatis Jr. is a top-5 home run leader, and Barnes throws a cutter towards the outside corner, which Tatis Jr. covers as well as any hitter. Manny Machado also followed up with another majestic home run off of Barnes.

Jose Peraza continued his Padres dominance with a two-run home run, and Tomas Nido added a single that featured an error to drive in the third Mets run. As a team, the Mets turned four double plays, but it was not enough to help out the pitching staff, which has been dominant at home.

On Monday, the Mets continue the homestand when the Chicago Cubs come into town. David Peterson looks to turn around his season against a starter to be determined for the Cubs. The first pitch is at 7:05 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

New York Yankee Recap: Bad to worse, Phillies shut out the Yankees 7-0

New York Yankees, Domingo German

It was a partly cloudy day with temperatures in the upper 70’s as the New York Yankees took to the field at Citizens’ Bank Park in Philadelphia to take on the Phillies. It was the last game of a short two-game series. The Yankees lost the first game last evening in the 10th inning 8-7. Today Domingo German faced the Phillies’ Aaron Nola. It would be a game with neither Aaron Judge (spasms) or Giancarlo Stanton (DH) would be in the Yankee’s lineup. The result was a 7-0 shutout by the Phillies.

In the first, Nola took the mound to face DJ LeMahieu singled to center to lead it off. Gleyber Torres hit into a double play. Rougie Odor ground out for a fast inning to Nola. Herrera led off the bottom by singling to left field off of Domingo German. Segura singled, driving Herrera to third with no outs. Realmuto singled driving in the first run of the game. Harper hit into a  double play for two outs. Hoskins ground out to end the inning. Phillies 1 Yankees 0.

At the top of the second inning, Gio Urshela led off and slammed one to far-right Harper caught that. Gary Sanchez flew out to center. Miguel Andujar popped out to first for a 1-2-3 inning for Nola. At the bottom, McCutchen doubled over Andujar’s head. Bohm singled to right for men on the corners with no outs. Torreyes popped out to LeMahieu. Nola struck out on attempted bunts. Herrera doubled driving in McCutchen. Segura singled up the middle, driving in another two runs. While trying to keep Segura at first, the ball was thrown past DJ, and Segura when to third base. Realmuto ground out, but the Phillies got 3 more runs. Phillies 4 New York Yankees 1.

At the top of the third, with the Yankees behind by 3 runs, Brett Gardner went down swinging. Clint Frazier walked. Pitcher German struck out. LeMahieu struck out to end the half. Harper led off the bottom by grounding out. Hoskins struck out. McCutchen flew out to Gardner for German’s first 1-2-3 inning. Phillies 4 Yankees 1.

Gleyber Torres led off the fourth inning and went down looking. Odor went down swinging. Urshela ground out for another fast inning for Nola with only 44 pitches. At the bottom, Bohm hit out to Torres, who made an excellent throw to DJ. Torreyes popped out to Odor. Nola walked. Herrera flew out to Frazier in right. Phillies 4 Yankees 1.

The fifth inning was started by Gary Sanchez, who lined out to center. Andujar ground out to second base. Gardner ground out of eight Yankees in a row for Nola. At the bottom, Segura hit a long triple off a ball off the center-field wall. Realmuto singled. Harper singled to right. Hoskins, with two on and no outs, flew out. That was the day for German as he gave up the most hits of his career. McCutchen faced Wandy Peralta and doubled to far left, driving in two more Philly runs. Bohm ground out, but McCutchen moved to third. Torreyes flew out to Gardner, but the Phillies picked up another three runs. Phillies 7 Yankees 0.

The sixth inning was led off by Clint Frazier, who struck out. Chris Gittens pinch-hitting went down on strikes, still looking for his first major league hit. LeMahieu, with Nola at only 64 pitches, singled for his second hit of the game, the only hits by the Yankees. Torres swung and missed. At the bottom, Nola faced Lucas Luetge, and he helped his own cause by singling. Herrera struck out. Segura flew out to Gardner. Realmuto struck out to end the inning. Phillies  7 New York Yankees 0.

The seven-inning with Aaron Nola still on the mound, Rougie Odor, doubled for the first Yankees runner in scoring position. Urshela singled, but Odor got caught running from second for the first out. Not the first time the Yankees have got caught in a similar run down. Sanchez struck out swinging. Andujar went down to end the half. At the bottom, Harper ground out to short. Hoskins ground out to third. McCutchen walked off Luetge. Bohm flew out to Gardner in center. Phillies 7 Yankees 0.

Brett Gardner led off the eighth with Nola still on the mound, flew out to the warning track in right. Clint Frazier went down looking. Tyler Wade pinch hit and flew out for the final out of the half. Ronald Torreyes led off the bottom by grounding out to second against Jonathan Loaisiga. Matt Joyce struck out. Herrera ground out to first for a 1-2-3 inning for Loaisiga. Phillies 7 New York Yankees 0.

With last licks for the New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu took to the plate and line drove directly to first. Torres doubled to left field. Odor struck out. Gio Ushela was the last hope for the Yankees, and he struck out. The final score was the Philadelphia Phillies 7 and the New York Yankees 0. The winner was Aaron Nola, and the loser was Domingo German.

 

 

New York Jets, Jamison Crowder could be working toward pay cut (Report)

Per a report from ESPN’s Rich Cimini, the New York Jets want to keep the reliable slot receiver but are asking a big favor.

The New York Jets’ Jamison Crowder saga has apparently taken another turn, as a report from ESPN’s Rich Cimini claims that the team has asked the veteran receiver to take “at least a 50 percent pay cut”. Crowder is set to enter the final season of a three-year deal inked in 2019, returning on a non-guaranteed $10 million salary.

Over the last two seasons, Crowder has likely become the Jets’ most potent offensive weapon, earning 1,532 yards on 137 receptions, 12 of which went for touchdowns. Each of those marks is good for the team lead. Crowder, formerly of Washington, has established himself as one of the NFL’s more reliable slot receivers in that span.

However, questions about Crowder’s future have surfaced in the third and final year of his deal. The Jets are set to save over $10 million in cap space if they move Crowder through a release or trade. As the financial stalemate continues, Crowder has removed himself from organized team activities. He did not attend the voluntary workouts in Florham Park earlier this month and his status for this week’s mandatory portion remains uncertain.

In anticipation of the arrival of a rookie quarterback, later revealed to be Zach Wilson, the Jets spent this offseason bolstering their receiving corps. Former Tennessee Titan Corey Davis was added on a three-year, $45 million deal, while accoladed rookie Elijah Moore was chosen early in the second round (34th overall) in last spring’s draft. Their prior second-round choice, Denzel Mims, is expected to take on larger responsibilities in his sophomore season. The Jets also added another slot standout, Jacksonville’s Keelan Cole, while 2020 returnee Braxton Berrios earned positive reviews in taking the reps for an absent Crowder during the voluntary workouts.

Per Over the Cap, the Jets currently rank third in available cap space (behind Jacksonville and Denver) at just over $27 million. While they technically don’t need the extra money that would stem from Crowder’s departure, they still have lingering holes that could prove costly. The backup quarterback slot remains drastically understaffed, while the team is also reportedly still interested in former Washington blocker Morgan Moses.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Yankees News, 6/13: Terrible Luis Severino injury update, was Jameson Taillon a mistake?

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

The New York Yankees are dealing with a significant number of injuries, and they were expecting to gain back a few essential pieces in the coming weeks. Starting pitcher Luis Severino is working his way through a rehabilitation assignment with High-A Hudson Valley but walked away worse than he started on Saturday.

Luis Severino goes down again for the Yankees:

Severino marked his first rehab stint this year last week, allowing one run and two hits in his first start with Low-A Tampa, but did record three strikeouts on Saturday before suffering an apparent right leg injury. Severino was helped off the field, clutching his groin in significant pain, a setback that could keep them out for a few more months.

Considering his immediate response to the injury, he could barely put any weight on his right leg, and hopefully, MRIs return a slight strain to his groin rather than a tear. A torn groin can command 4-8 weeks of recovery, which would then force Severino to ramp back up and ensure his elbow is feeling adequate. An injury of this nature would likely keep him out until late August, if not the remainder of the 2021 season. Another significant blow to the Yankees’ starting pitching rotation, as Corey Kluber has also been dealing with a shoulder injury that had a 4-8 week recovery timeline.

Was trading for Jameson Taillon a mistake?

When the Yankees acquired Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates, they expected to add a stellar starting pitcher to their ranks. However, his performance in 2018 when he recorded a 3.20 ERA over 32 games seems to be an ancient relic at this point in time. Over 12 appearances this year, he holds a 5.74 ERA, with a career-low 34.2% ground ball rate and career-high 1.69 home runs allowed per nine innings. In a year where pitching has been dominant, Taillon has struggled considerably.

The Yankees are currently paying him just $2.25 million this year, but they did give up multiple prospects to Pittsburgh in exchange for one of Gerrit Cole’s close friends from his younger days with Pittsburgh. Taillon is arbitration-eligible in 2022 and will be a free agent in 2023, so the team has time to refine his qualities and hopefully return him to the norm. However, his struggles seem to have no end in sight, as he has struggled in consecutive performances this year.

Knicks News, 6/13: Mitchell Robinson returns to practice, should Derrick Rose be a priority signing?

New York Knicks, Mitchell Robinson

The New York Knicks have an exciting yet lengthy off-season ahead of them, having already been knocked out of the postseason by the Atlanta Hawks. A few decisions internally have to be made on players either returning or leaving in free agency. Of course, the organization will be connected to the majority of big names on the market, including Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, and even a potential trade for Damian Lillard.

Let’s take a break from the external news and take a look at Mitchell Robinson and Derrick Rose.

Mitchell Robinson returns to practice:

Robinson is finally returning to practice after missing the past few months with a fractured foot. The Knicks young center fractured his hand early in the campaign, and shortly after returning, he suffered a significant foot injury that kept him out for the entire postseason. This occurred on March 28, so the Knicks supplemented his loss with Taj Gibson, who played admirably against Atlanta.

Nonetheless, Mitchell was sorely missed in the series, as the Hawks had more size in the paint with Clint Capela, and the Knicks were unable to fight him off on the boards.

Robinson only played in 31 games last season, averaging 8.3 points, 1.5 blocks, at 8.1 total rebounds. He was a catalyst when on the floor for New York, offering them size and energy from the center position. Ultimately, this series against Atlanta might’ve been different if they had Robinson, and hopefully, he can remain healthy for the season ahead. He currently has just one year left on his rookie deal, as the Knicks has a club option, fully guaranteed for the 2021-22 season. They will undoubtedly pick up that option for the 22-year-old, and hopefully, he can remain healthy and justify an extension.

Should the Knicks prioritize retaining Derrick Rose?

One of the biggest questions for the Knicks this off-season is the retention of Derrick Rose. Rose was phenomenal for the Knicks since being acquired at the trade deadline from Detroit. Without him, they would’ve never competed against Atlanta over five games, and he was directly responsible for their surge at the end of the season. He averaged 14.9 points, 4.2 assists, and shot .487 from the field. He also set a career-high with a .411 three-point percentage over 2.6 attempts per game.

Rose is coming off a two-year, $15 million deal, and while he primarily comes off the bench, the Knicks could retain him in a sixth man role. Keeping him on a one-year, $7 million deal might get the job done, and based on how he performed last year and how he pushed through injuries, retaining one of their premier leaders and bench players could be considered a priority.

Alternatively, the team added Argentinian Luca Vildoza on a four-year deal, so they could be looking to him to supplement the loss of Rose, which is justifiable.