Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson Makes Presence Felt Instantly

Mitchell Robinson, Knicks, NBA
Mar 27, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Jalen McDaniels (2) dribbles the ball past New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) in the second half at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

It had been 50 NBA games since the New York Knicks had center Mitchell Robinson in the lineup. But, that streak came to an end on Wednesday night when the big man made his much-anticipated return to the lineup.

The last time we saw Robinson in an NBA game was on December 8th against the Boston Celtics. After that, it was revealed that he needed to undergo surgery on his ankle, derailing what had been a very promising beginning to the 2023-24 campaign.

Robinson was off to a historic start, grabbing rebounds at a rate higher than some teams around the NBA. He was providing the Knicks with elite defense as their anchor, giving the team rim protection and dominance in the pick-and-roll.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Mitchell Robinson & New York Knicks Updates

It will take some time for Robinson to continue knocking off the rust, but his presence was felt right away. With Robinson back in the mix, the Knicks will now have 48 minutes of elite rim protection, rebounding and defense from the center spot between him and Isaiah Hartenstein.

“At least my defense is kind of there,” Robinson said. “I’ve still got a little bit to work on with that.”

Robinson played 12 minutes against the Toronto Raptors. The Knicks didn’t need him to play much more than that as they destroyed the Raptors, 145-101. But, Robinson did make his presence felt right away.

“You never know what to expect but it’s a good baseline for us,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I liked the way he moved. He’ll get better and better each day.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Mitchell Robinson & New York Knicks Updates

On his first possession, he chased down an offensive rebound, throwing the ball off of a Raptors player so the Knicks could keep possession. He had a highlight block on the defensive end, finishing with two on the night.

“It was great just to have him out there, just to have him happy,” Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo said. “Just his spirit, it really is contagious for us, not to mention what he brings on the defensive end.”

The most impressive takeaway from the performance was how aggressive Robinson was on the offensive side of the ball. Throughout his career, he wouldn’t provide much more than putback dunks for the Knicks. But on Wednesday, he took the ball to the basket from the perimeter a few times and was looking for his shots.

With each passing game, Robinson will get more and more comfortable on the court again. Getting him live reps before the NBA Playoffs is ideal, as he will have 10 more games to continue rounding into shape before the postseason gets underway.

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