New York Knicks Bracing for Return of Starting Center: Report

Mitchell Robinson

Getty New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson during a January 10 matchup against the Denver Nuggets.

202 days after fracturing his right foot, it looks like Mitchell Robinson is nearing a return to the floor for the New York Knicks for their final preseason game on October 15.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau told The Athletic’s Fred Katz that the 23-year old is back to fully practicing:

A return for the final preseason game against the Wizards would seemingly set Robinson up to be available for the regular-season opener on October 20th.

Getting back one of the better defensive big men around the NBA would only make an already sound Knicks defense that much more a fortress for opposing offenses.

Mitchell Robinson has played in 158 career games with the New York Knicks and has career averages of 8.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and 1.1 steals.

His availability should come as a surprise to no one, given his most recent social media message blast on Instagram.

Robinson: ‘It’s Gonna Be a Movie’

Fourth-year center, Mitchell Robinson, fired off a warning on October 12 of what’s to come when he makes his return.

In a story posting on his Instagram (@mrobinson23_) page, he says his 2021-2022 is “gonna be a movie:”

Robinson has a history of posting cryptic, albeit sometimes forward messaging on his social media.

He campaigned for playing time during the playoffs back in May with this Instagram post, captioned ‘I just wanna hoop is that to much to ask?’

Down three games to one in their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks, the Knicks were very clearly missing the starting big man, and he was missing the court.

Robinson posted a highlight reel ahead of Game Five on June 2nd with the caption: ‘Missing the fight.’

This year is widely regarded as make-or-break for the relationship between Mitchell Robinson and the New York Knicks.

His history with social media messaging plays into that, as does his lack of a long-term contract.

Robinson’s Future in New York is an Uncertain One

Likely due to his recent history of injury, Mitchell Robinson and the New York Knicks haven’t yet come to terms on a contract extension.

It’s stirred speculation that the big man isn’t long for the Big Apple, and his days of calling Madison Square Garden home are all but a number winding down.

In a September 2 article for Bleacher Report, columnist Zach Buckley made a bold prediction that the New York Knicks would trade Mitchell Robinson in the coming months.

Although he did recognize the big man’s once-promising stance in the team’s rebuild when discussing his future:

It wasn’t too long ago that Mitchell Robinson seemed like the centerpiece of New York’s rebuild. But this roster has grown considerably since, and the big fella has stagnated a bit because of myriad injuries.

As well as Robinson’s freak of nature ability on both ends of the ball, to defend the shot and catch seemingly impossible lob passes:

Few players can match his combination of length, mobility and athleticism, a package potent enough to eventually put him in the Defensive Player of the Year consideration.

But he also can’t ignore the writing on the wall, provided by the team’s overhaul of talent at the center position:

After locking up Nerlens Noel, bringing back Taj Gibson and drafting Jericho Sims, New York could be set at the center spot, especially if it wants to experiment with Randle and Obi Toppin as small-ball 5s.

Ultimately, it comes down to what Mitchell Robinson’s next contract looks like, and furthermore, what it looks like in comparison to Nerlens Noel’s latest deal.

So the question becomes what the big man’s value is, not only to the New York Knicks, but the rest of the NBA, too.

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