NY Knicks: 5 ways the Knicks are mirroring the Miami Heat

NY Knicks (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
NY Knicks (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
4 of 5
NY Knicks
NY Knicks (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

NY Knicks and Miami are focusing on developing their young Centers

The structure of each team’s roster is similar. Both are relying on the development of their current center to help propel them to a new level.

However, the Miami Heat are lightyears above New York.

Bam Adebayo has been one of the most impressive breakout stories in the last half-decade. The 2020 All-Star has already surpassed his projected ceiling as a former 14th overall pick.

Adebayo has rounded into one of the best centers in the modern NBA.

He has the strength and shot-blocking skills to defend opposing big men and provide all-world rim protection.

This seems like a good excuse to include this highlight from last season’s playoffs:

As a reminder, this came at the end of an Eastern Conference Championship game.

On a game-tying dunk attempt.

By an All-Star and recent Olympic Gold Medal winner Jayson Tatum.

Incredibly, Bam’s defensive skills do not end with his shot-blocking. He is also unique in his ability to step out to the perimeter and defense opposing guards.

While most centers seem completely lost when matched up with the speed and shooting of players like Steph Curry or Damian Lillard, Adebayo has shown a remarkable ability to remain in front of his man and force difficult shots.

While he is already one of the best defenders in the league, the Heat are betting on their center to take yet another leap.

A roster built around a 35-year old Lowry and a 31-year-old Butler (who, as a former Thibodeau player, has a considerable number of miles on his body), seems short-sighted.

However, if Bam can emerge as the top player of that group, Miami has a centerpiece to build on both now and in the future.

The Knicks are much further behind the Heat in this respect. They too have a young center with noticeable upside in Mitchell Robinson. Many have projected the former second-round pick as a future defensive anchor.

He has the size (7’0″) and length (7’4″ wingspan) to become a Rudy Gobert-like rim protector.

Many thought he was on his way to stardom when he burst onto the scene averaging 2.4 blocks in just 20.6 minutes per game during his rookie season.

Analysts projected even bigger things from Robinson when the defensive guru Tom Thibodeau was hired.

However, things have yet to materialize for the young center. Injuries and underwhelming play have caused many to wonder how he fits in the future of the Knicks.

Should he still be considered the center of the future? Or should New York use him as a trade chip for an established center like this?

If Robinson could take a developmental leap, he could have an Adebayo-like impact on the Knicks.