Is Mitchell Robinson unhappy with his role in the Knicks’ offense?
The answer to that remains murky as the mystery behind Robinson’s quickly deleted tweet continues to grow. After the Knicks’ loss in Utah on Tuesday night, Robinson tweeted — then deleted — "One day they’ll let me play."
Robinson tweeted that after playing 31 minutes against the Jazz, finishing with seven points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
The Knicks did not make Robinson available after their practice on Thursday despite requests from multiple reporters. Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau was asked if he had talked to Robinson about the tweet.
"No, I haven’t. You would probably have to ask him. I really don’t pay attention to that stuff," Thibodeau said. "I’ve never coached through the media or social media, whatever that is. So in my conversations with him, that has never come up."
Thibodeau said he talks to Robinson on a regular basis.
"I talk to Mitch every day," he said. "He gets here early, stays late, works in practice. I have a number of meetings with him. So I’m talking to him a lot about what he has to do to help our team win. He’s done a lot of good things for us in terms of anchoring the defense, rim protection, putting pressure on the rim offensively. I know where he’s most efficient in all areas. The thing I focus on is our team and everyone doing what’s best for the team."
The 7-foot Robinson has started every game and is averaging a career-high 29.6 minutes through 19 games. He is averaging 9.1 points, which is slightly below the 9.7 points he averaged last season. His points per 36 minutes played has dropped significantly from 15 points last season to 11.
Robinson gets the majority of his points on offensive rebounds or lobs at the rim. All but three of his 120 shot attempts this season were dunks or layups, according to Basketball-Reference.
Heading into the season, it was clear that Robinson thought he could play a bigger role in the offense, as multiple videos of his practicing three-pointers in a Louisiana gym appeared on Instagram. Robinson has yet to take a jump shot this season. He took only three last season.
Robinson is eligible for a contract extension and could become a free agent at the end of the season. A versatile center with a more expansive offensive game obviously would be seen as more valuable.
Randle talks All-Star Game. Thursday was the first day of All-Star balloting, and the Knicks’ Julius Randle, who is having a career year, is jazzed at the prospect of playing in what would be a scaled-down event to benefit charity. Because of COVID-19, the league canceled its traditional All-Star Weekend in February. It now is talking about holding a game in March in Atlanta that would benefit historically Black colleges and university and COVID-19 relief funds.
Said Randle: "It would be a cool first experience playing in that game and being an All-Star. For it to be bigger than just the game and me — helping our country and HBCU’s and all universities and people in need during a time and era when people need it so much — that would be a cool first experience."