Knicks’ secret bench ingredient has profound impact on starting players

knicks, kevin knox, theo pinson
Apr 14, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox II (20) reacts to a play from the bench against New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Without a few key pieces, the New York Knicks would be nowhere near the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference standings. In fact, some of their more influential catalysts aren’t even everyday starters but rather bench players.

One in specific is Theo Pinson, who was previously with the Brooklyn Nets before being claimed by the Knicks this season. He’s only played in 14 games, averaging 2.2 minutes per game, mainly cheering from the bench and offering his assistance as a motivator.

Pinson is not only known as a professional basketball player but also one of the best teammates you can possibly have at the NBA level. As an active and vocal leader, he brings positivity when the Knicks are succeeding but helps them break out of funks and motivates them even when they’re struggling.

Here’s what a variety of Kicks players had to say about Theo Pinson:

“He’s someone who’s kind of an extension of coach,” Nerlens Noel says. “He’s always in the huddle pointing out small details that can make or break a game.”

It is always great to have a player like Pinson, who can use his basketball IQ to help win games, even if it’s on the bench.

“Theo is a great teammate,” wing Reggie Bullock said. “He brings energy to practice. He brings energy to the games. He’s very involved. He’s like another coach to the players. He knows everything about the timeouts we got left, how many fouls we got to give. He’s great teammate. That what Carolina builds. He’s been a hell of player for us this season and a great teammate.”

After being undrafted in 2018, Pinson spent time with the Nets and their G-League team, eventually landing with the Knicks across town. You could make the argument that his value off the bench or even just on it is worth the money the Knicks are paying him to be on the active roster.

“Theo gives us plus five energy every time we’re in a game… his energy is always there. Theo Pinson: one of the best teammates I have ever had,” Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley said.

“What makes Theo a good teammate, he cheers us on no matter what. We up or down, he’s that guy that’s our hype man. He is going to cheer us on and keep us going,” Mitchell Robinson said. “I know yall see him on the sideline, he is fully into the game. They don’t get any better than that.”