Already missing Mitchell Robinson due to a broken hand, the Knicks may also have to get by for a little while without Taj Gibson, who sprained his ankle on Saturday and was inactive on Sunday. However, Nerlens Noel‘s play at the five has helped ease the team’s depth issues up front, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.
“I definitely don’t want anyone hurt on this team,” said Noel, who has started the Knicks’ last eight games at center. “But I’ve taken that spot and made a focal point to man this team and be the anchor on the defensive end and do the small little things to help us win. I think I’ve been at a high level.”
Asked on Sunday about the possibility of adding another center to the roster, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau deferred to president of basketball operations Leon Rose, but said the club has “more than enough on the roster” to get by. As Berman notes, Julius Randle saw some action at center on Sunday, with rookie Obi Toppin playing alongside him at the four.
Here’s more from around the Atlantic:
- While much of the recent Sixers-related trade speculation has centered on Kyle Lowry, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer wonders if Rockets guard Victor Oladipo might make sense as an alternative for Philadelphia. At $21MM, Oladipo’s salary would be easier to match than Lowry’s $30.5MM cap hit, and the slumping Rockets may be more inclined than Toronto to sell.
- In addition to being promoted to the All-Star starting lineup as a result of Kevin Durant‘s injury, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum expects to participate in either the skills challenge or the 3-point contest prior to the All-Star Game next Sunday, but he won’t do both, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
- Blake Murphy of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at potential options for the Raptors if they pursue a center on the trade market, zeroing in on Kings big man Richaun Holmes as an ideal target for Toronto, given his modest salary and impressive impact.