Knicks Mitchell Robinson displays frustration over Tom Thibodeau’s expectations via deleted tweet

New York Knicks, Mitchell Robinson
Dec 17, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) slam dunks the ball against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Every player has a specific role on any given team, and the New York Knicks have embodied a new culture and style of play this season after hiring head coach Tom Thibodeau. His focus on defense has proved to be a significant factor in the Knicks’ minor success, as they currently sit at 8-11 on the year. With a competitive game against the Cleveland Cavaliers coming up on Friday evening, we should anticipate another hearty performance.

However, sometimes new styles and the expectations that come with them can create distrust in some players. Specifically, Center Mitchell Robinson has worked admirably to improve his shooting this past off-season, and he’s waiting for an opportunity to unlock his talents. Nonetheless, Thibodeau expects him to be a premium interior defender, focusing on defense rather than scoring.

Robinson tweeted out his frustration before immediately deleting the message: “One day they’ll let me play.”

Robinson isn’t indicating his playing time, as he’s averaged 29.6 minutes per game. However, he’s only averaging 9.1 points, compared to 15 last season. He’s also attempting one less shot per contest, indicating a change in focus.

“I’m waiting on the opportunity,” Robinson said in Boston. “I’ll continue to play my role when it presents itself. When that time comes, I know I can shoot.”

The New York Knicks need to continue focusing on defense, and Robinson is a massive part of that plan:

As a 7-foot Center, Robinson is expected to be a shot-blocker and interior defender, but he has other goals in mind.

Thibodeau, on the other hand, is sticking to his guns. Robinson’s lack of shooting hasn’t come up in conversation, and his old school style doesn’t give much value to Twitter posts. If Robinson has a concern, Thibodeau expects him to address it face-to-face. If he hasn’t, this doesn’t seem to be a major issue, and I wouldn’t expect to see Robinson taking more shots in the coming days. His ability to draw attention to the paint allows for more open shots on the outside as defenses collapse.

“I really don’t pay attention to that stuff,” he said after practice Thursday over Zoom. “And I’ve never coached through the media or social media or whatever that is. My conversations with him, that’s never come up.”