Knicks Center Posts Explicit Facebook Status Ahead of Playoffs

Mitchell Robinson

Getty Mitchell Robinson during a November 28 game against the Charlotte Hornets.

For the third time in four seasons, the New York Knicks are going to the NBA Playoffs. And for seemingly the umpteenth time, center Mitchell Robinson is firing off on social media.

In what was first presented as a reassurance that the big man is locked in, New York’s backup center (and former starter) used expletives to address fans and followers.

“I’m entering the playoffs I need to focus keep your (expletive) to yourself I will be off social media well at least I want be texting anybody back I’m not being funny I’m just locking in…thank you,” Robinson wrote.

It’s not the first time fans have seen the Knicks big expressing himself on social media.

Dating back to 2021, Robinson has used social media to plead his case with the team while sidelined, hint at returns from injury, and challenge himself in the offseason.

Hopefully his status from April 14 is nothing more than the former. Robinson just returned to the Knicks lineup after a 50-game absence, playing in 10 of their final 11 games.

He finished his sixth regular-season with the team averaging 5.6 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game. Given the injury he sustained to his ankle on December 8, no one’s holding it against him.

But he won’t get his job in the starting lineup back. Isaiah Hartenstein has played too well.

Hartenstein Shines in Contract Year

Robinson’s ankle injury and subsequent surgery left New York without a starting center.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau first tried starting third-year center Jericho Sims.

Which surprised some.

A number of fans would argue the 25-year-old’s best moments with the Knicks came in the 2023 NBA Dunk Contest, not on the regulation court. Unsurprisingly for most, it didn’t pan out.

After five games and Sims’ registering a negative-30 plus-minus, Thibodeau looked to Hartenstein to assume the starting job. It’s proved arguably the most critical point of the season, outside of the OG Anunoby trade.

In 49 consecutive starts to end the year, Hartenstein averaged 8.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game. New York went 32-17 in those games, good for a 53-win pace over an 82-game season.

After they introduced Hartenstein into the starting lineup, New York posted the sixth-best defensive rating in the league to close the season. They also allowed the sixth-fewest points in the paint in that span.

But his value isn’t just on defense. Which is exactly why Robinson faces an uphill battle to reclaim his starting job.

In 3,793 possessions with Hartenstein on the court, New York is scoring 122.3 points per 100 possessions. That’s good for the 92nd percentile of the entire NBA.

Compare that to the 3,816 possessions with him off the court, where they’re scoring just 115.3 points per 100 possessions, and you’ll see why Hartenstein is a better fit for this offense.

Mitchell Robinson aspirations to “lock in,” are timely. Because if he doesn’t get back to his previous stature in the postseason, his future in New York looks unsure.

Would the Knicks Trade Robinson?

Following a disappointing regular season, questions are going to be asked about Robinson’s future, regardless of the injury caveat.

Hartenstein’s emergence as one of the best two-way centers in the league doesn’t help his case. Nor does his (still) limited offensive repertoire.

An NBA Finals run looks unlikely with Julius Randle sidelined.

So New York is likely to look to the trade market to this offseason for roster upgrades. And as he makes $14 and $12-million over the next two seasons, Robinson will be a prime candidate for salary filler in any deal.

Because he’s underpaid if he can operate at the same level he was at prior to injury.

Or, they could opt to keep him in the backup slot, and boast (arguably) the best center rotation in the NBA.

Expect Isaiah Hartenstein’s pending free agency to play a pivotal part in any decision.

But whatever this postseason holds for the New York Knicks, it holds even more weight on the futures of multiple players. That starts with Mitchell Robinson, and could include others when all is said and done.