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) /
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NY Knicks, Mitchell Robinson
Clint Capela, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

NY Knicks: Mitchell Robinson could have challenged Clint Capela

Once again, I just want to acknowledge how hard Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson scrapped and clawed to slow Clint Capela down. You’re asking these guys to guard one of the most impactful rim-running centers in the NBA.

In terms of defense, we’ve seen Robinson bang down low with some of the best centers in the NBA. He’s going to make life so much tougher for Capela because he can actually match him physically.

Think about where Capela catches some of his easy lobs.

Taj Gibson can’t even physically reach that spot in the air. Robinson can with ease.

He would have been much more draining for Capela not just as a defender, but on offense as well.

Robinson is easily the best rebounder on the team – he was 5th in the NBA in offensive rebounds per game prior to getting hurt. This goes beyond the rebounding.

We saw how the Hawks shut down Julius Randle. Every time he got close to the paint, they shade Capela in his direction without paying the Knicks center any mind. Even if the Randle and other Knicks were able to execute that dump-off pass, what happens?

Nerlens Noel typically bobbles it and lets Capela or someone else recover.

When Taj gets the ball in space, it’s not an easy layup. It’s a dribble into a pump fake into a contested layup from the defender who was able to recover. Neither player have the quickness nor the burst to turn that pass into an easy bucket.

It can be infuriating to watch, but that’s just the limitations you get with running out Taj Gibson and Nerlens Noel all game, you can’t fault them.

It’s the exact pass that was always there for the Hawks. Capela is that same dangerous lob threat that Mitch is for the NY Knicks.

Even if that pass isn’t made, you have to guard it. It’s a big reason why Gibson and Noel were sinking into the paint on defense. They were defending the lob, not even able to muster a contest on Trae Young floaters.

With a lot of difficult roster decisions coming up, hopefully, the NY Knicks front office realized the impact Mitchell Robinson can have after getting just 1 win in 5 games. Remember, this isn’t just how good Mitchell Robinson is now, this is about how much better the 23-year-old can still be.