The NY Knicks have been feeling the wear and tear of the NBA season since the All-Star break, and hopefully, new signing Norvel Pelle can be a solid reinforcement. The team has had a myriad of injuries: Elfrid Payton, Julius Randle, Reggie Bullock, Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley, and Mitchell Robinson have all missed at least one game due to injury. The past few weeks have been a reminder of just how important things like roster depth and managing minutes can be.
The most devastating injury for The NY Knicks has by far been Mitchell Robinson. Robinson had just recently returned from a long-term injury before fracturing his foot and is now likely sidelined for the remainder of the season. So now The Knicks centers are Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson. That’s not exactly “Depth”. The team recently signed both Norvel Pelle and John Henson to 10-day contracts to see if they can get something more from the center position.
NY Knicks: What they need at center
Mitchell Robinson does not have a big role in the offense, and neither will his replacements. What Robinson does bring is intensity and a physical skill-set in the paint that drains opposing centers. Robinson was leading the entire NBA in box-outs per game, and with him in the lineup, The Knicks are better across every single rebounding category. The team needs those 2nd chance opportunities.
Nerlens’ Noel has remained a consistent shot blocker all season, but he can really struggle to simply hold onto the ball on offense. With Taj Gibson, you really can’t complain. I can write about the limitations of the 35-year old Taj Gibson, but really, he’s provided more than anyone could ask for – The team’s efficiency net differential is a +5.4 with Gibson on the floor.
Still, the team’s offensive rebounding numbers are down with Gibson in the lineup, and The Knicks need every chance to score they can get.
NY Knicks: Norvel Pelle can provide a boost
It’s hard to say just how much Pelle will play early on after playing in just garbage time in his debut. With just Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson as the depth in front of Norvel Pelle, hopefully, Tom Thibodeau cuts back those two’s minutes because they are both prime candidates to break down later in the season should they continue to play heavy minutes.
Pell has had limited action in The NBA, so all of his numbers must be taken with a grain of salt. When Pelle was on the court for the Philadelphia 76ers last season, the team’s offensive rebounding rate and putbacks attempted all increased by a solid margin. Of course, this was just in the 187 minutes that Norvel Pelle played, but it’s still a potential indicator of something he can bring to the NY Knicks – Someone who can get the team more 2nd-chance opportunites.
Pelle showcased his shot-blocking skills in his Knicks’ debut, but perhaps he has more to showcase on his new team. At the end of the day, he was a signing The NY Knicks needed to make. What happens if Taj Gibson or Nerlens Noel get hurt? This is Pelle’s chance to show what he’s capable of – Let’s see what he’s got.