NY Knicks: Loss to Hawks highlights Mitchell Robinson’s value

Mitchell Robinson, NY Knicks (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Mitchell Robinson, NY Knicks (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
NY Knicks, Mitchell Robinson
Trae Young, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

NY Knicks: Mitchell Robinson’s defensive presence

New York’s lauded defense wasn’t up to par with the Hawks’ offense. This isn’t poo-pooing on the effort and intensity that the team came out with, but rather highlighting the lack of defensive firepower this roster actually has.

New York threw their usual ice coverage on Trae Young – the high-pressure pick and roll defense that can be so difficult for point guards to maneuver, where New York overloads defenders to the ball-handler.

The Knicks would try and force Trae into double teams either on the perimeter or into the waiting big-man, who is tasked with both covering the point guard and the lob pass to the center.

Well, that didn’t really work. How many wide-open Trae Young floaters and Clint Capela alley-oops did we see in this series?

It starts with the perimeter defenders (Who couldn’t contain Young) but Neither Taj Gibson nor Nerlens did a good job of getting a hand up on Trae Young’s floaters. Rarely was there any sort of shot-contest, Trae Young looked like he was just running drills.

That’s where a disruptor like Robinson, who combines his 7’4 wingspan with excellent burst, can actually make life difficult for guards coming into the paint.

Nerlens Noel is a terrific shot-blocker at the rim. He’s not a good mid-range contester.

This isn’t to say that the equation would have been simple: Robinson plays, the Knicks win the series.

What Robinson would have done, was make life actually difficult for Young. He dealt with the Knicks perimeter pressure like it was nothing, and when he got near the elbow, there was nothing there waiting for him. Robinson actually has the length and lateral quickness to make those moments difficult.

Robinson’s void didn’t stop there.