When mentioning the best defensive teams in the NBA last season, that conversation could not be had without including the New York Knicks. Offensively, New York impressed, but can do more in 2023-24 to reach championship contention.
Insert Mitchell Robinson into the equation. Robinson has anchored the Knicks’ defense in his five seasons with the franchise, but could the rim-running center benefit from seeing more touches?
Could Mitchell Robinson Be for the Knicks What Clint Capela is For the Hawks?
Robinson’s career 71.2 percent clip from the field is reminiscent of one DeAndre Jordan during his prime years with the Los Angeles Clippers. His athleticism and finishing ability show signs of Atlanta Hawks pick-and-roll maestro Clint Capela.
Robinson is only making good on that uber-efficient connect rate and natural talent in just under five total shot attempts per night.
Mike Vacarro of the New York Post reminded the basketball world of Robinson’s impatience with a lack of touches in the offense last season with this Snapchat post that took shots at the coaching staff:
“Tired asf of just being out there for cardio fam like I want to play basketball to really just wasting my time and energy.”
The Knicks’ screen-setters average the fewest shot attempts per game (2.8 FGA), but shoot 57.9 percent when they do. Taking into account the ease with which they execute in the screen-and-roll coupled with Robinson’s efficiency and dynamism as a lob threat, the Knicks exploiting him more would free up the corners for the most efficient three-pointer in basketball and make point guard Jalen Brunson’s life easier in the midrange.
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Can Robinson Create Offense For Himself in Other Areas of the Floor?
Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau strays away from calling plays out of the post, even for All-Star Julius Randle, and Robinson has not shown a hunger to be fed on the block even when his teammates look for him on offense.
His ball-handling ability is virtually unknown and he rarely attempts shots outside of the restricted area. No comments have been made in regard to the coaching staff working with Robinson to expand his range and become an outside threat.
Though, several of his contemporaries, including Jusuf Nurkic (Phoenix Suns) and Jonas Valanciunas (New Orleans Pelicans), have gone from non-existent from the outside to efficient spot-up three-point shooters.
Robinson’s work rate on the defensive end is his largest responsibility on the court, but a slight uptick in looks would bode well for the team in creating more quick and easy opportunities.