With the New York Knicks preparing to take on the Boston Celtics in the home opener of the 2021–22 season, they will be without two veteran centers in Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson. Noel has been battling a sore left knee for the past few weeks, and his absence was expected to provide Mitchell Robinson with an excellent opportunity to earn solid minutes as he rehabilitates from a fractured foot.
Gibson, on the other hand, was forced out of the contests due to personal reasons, meaning the Knicks will have to supplement his loss with a potential dual power forward combination including Julius Randle and Obi Toppin. Alternatively, they do have Jericho Sims on the active roster, so he could earn minutes in his rookie season after signing a two-way contract.
Gibson has been preparing for any situation he’s required to perform in, indicating that Tom Thibodeau has coached him to be versatile.
“The moment I came into the league, Thibs has always had me in different situation,” said Gibson, who is entering his 13th NBA season. “He’s always prepared me for starting, coming off the bench. He didn’t want me to just be a guy floating. He always told me to have my head on a swivel, always be ready, always be professional and work will handle the rest.
Gibson was solid during preseason play, posting 21 points against the Detroit Pistons, activating his shooting prowess, and showing off a new element to his game. The veteran continues to surprise, injecting energy and leadership on the court whatever he’s called upon.
However, the team will rely on Robinson against Boston after he played in 27 minutes in the preseason finale against the Washington Wizards. Robinson found himself gassed at some points due to a lack of stamina, but getting him involved early should help him return to his old ways in due time.