Could Knicks’ defensive big-man become an offensive catalyst?

Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks

Nov 27, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) dunks the ball against the Memphis Grizzlies during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson has been most known for his defensive prowess on the court, but this week his trainer insisted that the seven-footer has worked to improve his offensive skillset this offseason.

Mitchell Robinson’s trainer wants to see the big man get involved on offense

“Mitch has developed a few go-to moves with his back to the basket!!!,” Robinson’s trainer Marcell Scott said in an Instagram story. “Coach Thibs give him that freedom on the offensive end…”

What exactly those “go-to moves” are remains to be seen. Robinson has been used primarily as a lob threat on offense due to his inability to post up defenders and space the floor. He is a big component of the Knicks’ defensive identity but is seen as more of an afterthought on the other side of the ball.

The lack of activity on that side of the ball frustrated Robinson last season, and he expressed his dissatisfaction through an array of social media posts towards the end of last season.

The Knicks would benefit from a more offense-minded version of Robinson

The Knicks would benefit tremendously if Robinson is able to translate his apparent improvements to the NBA court. Their biggest issue last season and in the playoffs was a lack of pure spacing, but if Robinson is able to help open up the floor some more, the Knicks’ offense could be more dynamic than ever.

New York has three primary ball handlers in Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, and RJ Barrett. Each of these players have showcased the ability to create their own shot at all three levels of the court. One could argue that Robinson’s lack of an outside game has limited the trio, so an improvement in areas other than underneath the rim could really unlock their full potential.

How Robinson’s game changes offensively remains to be seen, but after these recent comments from his trainer, it will be worth watching his offseason work to see how it impacts his regular-season play.

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