New York Knicks: Results of drastic lineup change vary

New York Knicks Trey Burke Frank Ntilikina (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
New York Knicks Trey Burke Frank Ntilikina (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks
New York Knicks Mitchell Robinson (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Mitchell Robinson

Slash line since move: .640/N/A/.750
Average stats since move: 8.2 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 0.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 24.5 MPG

Enes Kanter

Slash line since move: .500/.000/.778
Average stats since move: 12.2 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.2 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 22.4 MPG

The swap of Enes Kanter for Robinson from the starting lineup to the bench was the surprise move the New York Knicks made. So far, so good for the upside flashes of the new center, who’s freakishly athletic moves have taken over parts of games.

Robinson’s stats won’t jump off the page, but he’s steadily finding his feet in the NBA. That’s with three double-digit point games and a double-double against DeAndre Jordan and the Dallas Mavericks.

The move highlighted the 20-year-old rookie’s defensive play, as he offers the rim protection that Kanter didn’t, having tallied more blocks than the veteran center has in more minutes and games.

Robinson was once thought to have a G League stint on the way. However, as Fizdale told Marc Berman of The New York Postthere’s no indication of this happening any time soon, if ever, based on this praise:

"“He’s going to be our foundation, our anchor of our defense for the future. Let’s get this guy going right now and really commit to the development of these guys and to what it’s going to take to get them to where they need to be for us to be the team we’re going to be later.”"

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So even if Kanter outproduces Robinson on points and rebounds, it’s an upside play for the Knicks, who have the long-term in their sights; not a positive for someone on a contract year, even with an $18.6 million salary, and it puts his team role in the balance.