Mitchell Robinson’s offensive rebound gives Knicks a boost

As the Knicks consider whether to sign Mitchell Robinson long-term, his influence on the offensive glass continues to rise.

The floating free-agent center recorded 10 offensive rebounds and 12 boards total Friday’s 110-107 win over the Wizards in the garden. Robinson is trailing Grizzlies big man Steven Adams in offensive rebounds per game this season, averaging 4.02 in 64 appearances.

“Huge…this effort plays, it inspires your team,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said after Friday’s game. “Our rebound was off the charts, that’s a big part of winning. You have to keep improving… keep fighting, scratching. Whatever we have to do, we have to do now.”

The Knicks (30-40) edged the Wizards to 11th place in the Eastern Conference with their second straight win, but they started five games behind Charlotte and Atlanta on Saturday to close the last two one-season berths with 12 games remaining reach. Thibodeau’s team meets the Hawks at home on Tuesday and visits the Hornets the following night after hosting Sunday night’s Garden Jazz.

Led by Julius Randle’s 10.0 rebounds per game, the Knicks are third in the league in team rebounds this season (46.6). Robinson’s 8.7 rebounds per game represents a career high in his four NBA seasons.

Mitchell Robinson fights for a rebound against Drew Eubanks in the Knicks' win over the Trail Blazers.
Mitchell Robinson fights for a rebound against Drew Eubanks in the Knicks’ win over the Trail Blazers.
NBAE via Getty Images

“I think we’ve been pretty good for most of the year,” said Thibodeau. “There are all these different metrics that people use to measure things. My eyes tell me things too. I know if a guy guards the ball well. I know if a team is in the gaps. I know if a team keeps the ball out of color. I know if a team challenges shots. I know if a team recovers.”

Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. knows this, too, and he criticized his big men — including former Knicks All-Star Kristaps Porzingis — for not stopping Robinson from dominating the offensive glass. That dominance resulted in 20 second chance points for the Knicks.

“That’s what he does, that’s how he affects the game and we allowed him to do that,” Unseld said. “Ten offensive rebounds is absolutely inexcusable. Twenty second chance points, you won’t win many games like this.”

“Big man. Huge. He’s done that for us all year,” added Randle, who had 18 points and 17 rebounds (16 defensive) against the Wizards. “Well, I guess we’re expecting it, but it is It’s not normal for a guy to do that all night, but to bring that energy and effort, attacking the offensive glass and finding offense that way and protecting the rim like he does is tremendous for us.”

Rookie center Jericho Sims also snagged four offensive rebounds off the bench in 15 minutes, helping the Knicks finish 19th overall.

“Also the pressure they put on the rim, if you don’t respond to that you give up a dunk,” Thibodeau said of Robinson and Sims. “If you react, then RJ [Barrett] can get to the edge, and Julius can get to the edge.”

The 7-foot Robinson also scored 15 points in the win in 6-for-10 shooting, which kept his field goal percentage at .766 for the season. That would dwarf the league record of .742 he set in 2019-20, but Robinson is currently ineligible to win that title. A player now needs at least 300 field goals scored to qualify for the league lead, so Robinson would need to convert 68 shots (5.6 per game) in the team’s last 12 games to be considered. Mitchell Robinson’s offensive rebound gives Knicks a boost


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