The New York Knicks signed veteran big man Taj Gibson to help in more than one way. Despite his experience and production throughout his lengthy career as a professional, Gibson’s primary purpose will be to help young star Mitchell Robinson further develop his game.
He is providing the young center a seasoned veteran to act as his mentor, which is precisely why the Knicks had no problem investing in the 11-year player. Gibson averaged 10.8 points per game over 24.1 minutes last season, so he still does have value on the floor and can provide Robinson with time to rest and stay out of foul trouble.
Taj understands his role with the Knicks will be very specific and tailored to him helping Mitchell grow:
“That’s the thing I plan on doing,” Gibson recently said of his Knicks counterpart in Robinson, via The New York Post. “I’ll try to make him better and challenge him in practice. It was tough to get a shot over him. He’s a crazy shot-blocker. My job is to be a veteran, go in, and challenge the guys every day and make my teammates better, help change the culture and push forward a winning mentality.’’
While the veteran will undoubtedly be helping the Knicks’ best shot-blocker, his influence will spread to the entire team. He is looking to bring a winning culture to New York and establish something absent from the Mecca of basketball for quite some time. He has plenty of experience on successful teams and playing with generational talents, but this is a new challenge for Gibson as he will be the elder among the group of youthful players.
The Knicks finished last season with the worst record in the NBA, tallying just 17 total wins. Gibson is convinced the newly revitalized roster will have far more potential and quality on a more consistent basis.
“I want to bring a winning attitude that’s positive: don’t take a play off,’’ Gibson added. “I’ve been with good teams my whole career. I’ve been to the playoffs throughout my entire career. Winning is all I really know.”