The New York Knicks are currently 41-30 and firmly entrenched in the Eastern Conference fifth seed and riding a two-game winning streak.
All-Star Julius Randle is playing at a very high level, and point guard Jalen Brunson has been sensational as the savvy floor leader the Knicks desperately needed. The play of role players R.J. Barrett and Immanuel Quickley has been nothing short of dynamite, but there’s one Knicks player who isn’t happy with his time.
Mitchell Robinson Is Unhappy With His Role
Center Mitchell Robinson, who signed a four-year, $60 million extension last offseason, isn’t happy about his role. The former second-round pick took to Snapchat to voice his displeasure about his role or lack thereof in the Knicks attack.
“Tired asf of just being out there for cardio fam like I want to play basketball to, really just wasting my time my energy, (facepalm emoji)”
While, Robinson may have a reason to be upset, he was re-signed to be a rim protector and rebounder. The Knicks don’t run plays for him, and if they did it would be off the screen and roll, lob variety. Robinson’s offensive skill set isn’t much beyond 5 feet, so in essence with Randle, Brunson, Barrett, and others filling it up, it doesn’t make much sense to run plays for Robinson.
Robinson Is Vital To Knicks Success Despite Offensive Limitations
With the Knicks using a small lineup often, Robinson ranks third in the league in usage, trailing only the offensively challenged PJ Tucker of the Philadelphia Sixers and Robinson’s teammate, and third-string center Jericho Sims. As on Wednesday, Robinson is the least passed-to starter in the league, with just 10 total passes coming his way per game.
Even with those limited amount of touches, he’s still averaging 7.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks and nearly a steal per game. Solid stats for a player who averages just 27 minutes a game and has very little influence on the offense.
Backup Center Getting Crunch-Time Minutes
The root of Robinson’s frustration could stem from his backup, Isaiah Hartenstein, who plays with the high motor and pure grit, getting the bulk of the minutes late in games when the Knicks stay big. It could be the hustle and relentless play that’s keeping “Ike” on the floor, or it could be the body language Robinson has displayed often when not getting touches.
In Robinson’s defense, a lot of the same thing was beginning to happen in Phoenix with DeAndre Ayton once the team added Kevin Durant. With him and Devin Booker as two of the game’s elite scorers, Ayton was setting screens and rolling to the rim and never touching the basketball. That changed when Durant hurt himself in warmups, but it still remains to be seen how it will play out when he returns.
As for Robinson, he’s got some talented offensive weapons around him as well, and it’d be nice to see them throw him a lob or two here and there for his work setting screens, rebounding and playing defense.
Maybe Tom Thibodeau will hear his cry and make some changes.
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