RJ Barrett is not the only New York Knicks player who has put in work at the charity stripe this offseason. Knicks center Mitchell Robinson has been at it in practice, working on his mechanics and repetitions to improve at the line in 2023-24.
Can Robinson Improve at the Free Throw Line for the Knicks This Year?
SNY shared Robinson’s comments via Twitter yesterday, Oct. 23, as he spoke to the media after practice and briefly summed up what he’s done in hopes of seeing a higher percentage on the stat sheet come season’s end:
Robinson is a career 52.9 percent shooter from the line. He has gotten worse in every season as a pro. His career-high 60 percent connect rate came as a rookie in 2018-19. He tanked last season at 48.4 percent overall.
Robinson attesting to an improved focus and form at the line is encouraging for the franchise. His execution in preseason sings a completely different song. While he has gotten to the line at the same rate (2.3 attempts) in their four contests, he’s made only 22.2 percent of his freebies.
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Robinson’s Volume of Free Throws Another Cause For Concern
The Knicks do not feature Robinson in the offense enough for him to put pressure on referees to send him to the line. New York only generated 2.8 field goals per game among all their screen-setters last year. Also, Robinson does not ask for the ball in the post and is not asked to create his own shot for the team.
Though his free throw percentage is among the worst in the NBA, the amount of times he misses at the stripe does not factor into the team’s overall connect rate enough to put him on the back cover of the daily paper. Nevertheless, Robinson’s work ethic can turn his shooting woes around.
Several big men have successfully erased poor free throw shooting from their rap sheet. Former Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin went from a career-low 52.8 percent clip at the line in 2011-12 all the way to a career-best 78.5 percent connect rate in 2017-18. Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond also went from an alarming sub-40 percent rate to dialing in 60 percent of his freebies midway through his career.
The Knicks open the season tomorrow, Oct. 25, against the Boston Celtics and will give Robinson his first chance to prove that his work has paid off.