Knicks center Mitchell Robinson, newly re-signed to a generous four-year, $60MM contract in free agency this summer, has been everything New York could have hoped for — at least, during his team’s preseason run, per Steve Popper of Newsday. Popper notes that, with Robinson on the hardwood, New York was a plus-64 across the club’s four preseason contests.
“I think all aspects of his game, he’s put a lot of work in,” Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He’s gotten better. The rebounding, the shot-blocking, he’s getting more comfortable with the ball. The finishing. The pressure on the rim. That set the tone from the start.”
“One thing about Mitch, he’s really special to work with,” Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson said. “He works hard. He’s a great guy off the court. We got to build a lot of chemistry over the past couple of weeks. I think how we’ve built the chemistry off the court, on the court we’re really in sync. So I look forward to kind of staying in that sync with him. He’s special. I just really enjoy his presence off the court, on the court obviously.”
There’s more out of the City That Never Sleeps:
- In some encouraging Knicks health news, young reserves Obi Toppin and Quentin Grimes should be available for New York in time for the team’s season opener on Wednesdayagainst the Grizzlies, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Toppin, dealing with a turned ankle, and Grimes, rehabbing a sore left foot, were held out of practice today, but head coach Tom Thibodeau remains confident they’ll be healthy in time for the first game that counts. “I think they’ll be fine,” Thibodeau said. “This is part of the program. Obi was more precautionary. It was just [that] he tweaked it.”
- New Nets assistant coach Igor Kokoskov has emerged as the team’s point man when it comes to game-planning its offense, according to Net Income of NetsDaily. Brooklyn’s fresh approach on that end of the floor is more open-ended and team-friendly, and is a credit to the input of Kokoskov, per Net Income.
- 6’11” second-year Nets reserve center Day’Ron Sharpe has been making a case for frontcourt rotation minutes with a prolific preseason, reports Peter Botte of The New York Post. The big man out of North Carolina posted averages of 13.0 PPG and 9.0 RPG, in just 21.5 MPG, during Brooklyn’s final two games of its preseason. “I think he looks physically better,” head coach Steve Nash reflected. “I think I’ve told you before we’ve worked really hard with the young guys … and DayDay took a step.”