Knicks Big Sounds Off on Questionable Analytics

Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks

Getty Mitchell Robinson of the New York Knicks looks on prior to their game against the Charlotte Hornets.

Following a string of four losses in five outings, the New York Knicks find themselves on a three-game winning streak, with their latest triumph coming in a road tilt against their divisional rivals, the Charlotte Hornets.

Coming away with a 121-102 victory, Tom Thibodeau’s squad dominated the vast majority of areas throughout the Friday night bout, but one of the main facets opposing coach Steve Clifford highlighted during his post-game media session was New York’s efforts on the offensive boards, stating that they “tattooed us on the glass.”

Leading the charge in this department was Knicks big Mitchell Robinson, who, in just shy of 30 minutes played (29:57), gobbled up a whopping 7 offensive rebounds.

Though this number is certainly one to marvel at, as he pulled down nearly as many offensive boards in just one game as entire teams have averaged throughout the 2022-23 season, the center seems to believe that this total should have ultimately been even greater, as he called out the concept via Twitter of how purposeful second-chance put-back tip-ins can count as shot attempts but not rebounds.

These “taps” Robinson is referring to may not have been able to positively impact his rebounding numbers, but they certainly did manage to tank his typically illustrious shooting percentage, as the fifth-year pivot converted on just three of his seven attempts from the floor (42.9%), with four of his missed opportunities coming by means of put-back tip attempts at the rim.

Despite his qualms, the 24-year-old still had a tremendous impact for the Knicks on the night, as he went on to finish with a well-rounded stat-line of 6 points, 13 total rebounds, 3 blocks, and 1 steal whilst boasting a box plus-minus rating of +6.

Robinson Makes Knicks a Second-Chance Powerhouse

Even with the fact being that tip-ins don’t count as offensive rebounds, throughout this first quarter of the season Mitchell Robinson has helped establish the New York Knicks as one of the most elite board-crashing units in the entire association.

Through 26 contests played, the Knickerbockers find themselves ranking third in the league in both offensive rebounds (12.8) and total rebounds (47.1) per game.

Robinson has been leading the charge from an individual standpoint for his club in the offensive rebounding department, where he has managed to bring down an average of 4.1 per game through 18 games played, which is a better mark than second-chance stalwarts such as Rudy Gobert (3.7) and Anthony Davis (3.2).

Since November 20, when he made his return from a knee injury that sidelined him for eight games, the center has brought down the third-most offensive rebounds per game with 4.6 while the Knicks as a whole have ranked third with 13.4 in this same category and rank first in the league in second-chance points during this stretch with 19.5 per game.

Injuries Could Force Knicks to Use Reddish

In light of Obi Toppin’s recently sustained right fibula injury that is expected to keep him sidelined for several weeks, Fred Katz of The Athletic suggested that the situation could force the New York Knicks to make an internal reunion with one of their currently estranged young talents.

During a December 9 interview with Knicks Film School, the NBA Insider stated that despite his recent removal from head coach Tom Thibodeau’s preferred rotation, reincorporating Cam Reddish back into the lineup could be the ideal course of action moving forward.

“From a basketball perspective that easily makes the most sense,” Katz said. “I think you can play him as a small-ball four, you could play with a bunch of wings, you can play really fast with the second unit. I think that totally is what would make the most sense.”

Amid a three-game DNP streak, it has been reported that Cam Reddish and his representatives have been working with the Knicks’ front office to find a trade where the forward gets shipped out of New York.

However, with the recent injury to core big man Obi Toppin, Katz believes that, despite the “uncomfortable” situation, it could prove to be beneficial for Thibodeau to thrust the former lottery pick back into the rotation for the time being.

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