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Mitchell Robinson, shooting lights-out from close range for Knicks, can grow offensively

Knicks coach David Fizdale patient with his big man: "We're going to keep expanding his game, eventually get it to where he can post, where he can face up."

New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson dunks against

New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson dunks against the Toronto Raptors during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

ATLANTA — It is hard to argue with Mitchell Robinson’s shot selection, given that he has converted 69.9 percent of his attempts. But his range extends only to about an arm’s length from the rim.

He entered Thursday night having converted 100 of 135 shots from within three feet. He was 8-for-20 from three feet to 10 feet and 1-for-1 from beyond 10 feet.

The Knicks are optimistic that as he goes on, he will expand his game and his range.

“I’m never putting a cap on these guys. That’s been my M.O. from the beginning,’’ coach David Fizdale said. “The good part is that he’s just starting to get a grasp of what we’re doing now, which is what I want to keep hammering home, obviously. We’re going to keep expanding his game, eventually get it to where he can post, where he can face up. You can see his free throws are really starting to look a lot better. So that obviously translates into being able to shoot outside. Everything is baby steps. We’re going to get him there the right way and make sure that he’s good at the main stuff first and then continue to branch out.”

Robinson shot 3-for- 5 and had six points, seven rebounds and four blocks in 19 minutes in the Knicks’ 106-91 win over Atlanta.  

Due diligence

In a documentary debuting Saturday on TNT, the agent for Giannis Antetokounmpo, Giorgos Panou, says every NBA team traveled overseas to scout Antetokounmpo before the 2013 draft — except the Knicks.

“Executives, GMs, assistant coaches, every team came,” Panou said. “Twenty-nine teams — except the Knicks.”

The Knicks disputed that statement, noting that Kevin Wilson, the team’s European scout, had seen him multiple times.

Antetokounmpo went No. 15 overall to the Bucks. The Knicks, under then-general manager Glen Grunwald, selected 24th and took Tim Hardaway Jr.

If you want to criticize the Knicks for that draft, maybe they didn’t scout Rudy Gobert well enough — although they understandably might have been gun-shy about taking a tall French center with Frederic Weis still stinging in franchise history.

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