Everyone is talking about Mitchell Robinson. To a news cycle thirsting for positive news, the generosity of Robinson provided ample nourishment this weekend. The tale of Mitch taking his grieving high school coach as a roommate may be the sports cross-over story of the year and received coverage everywhere.
Combining a charming humility with his selflessness, Mitch quickly downplayed the fuss:
So I’m getting a lot of questions on why I didn’t post about my high school coach coming to say with me. Reason is because I did it for him not social media I genuinely wanted to help him stay strong and the whole situation I loved her as well she was like a mom to me— Mitchell Robinson (@23savage____) December 2, 2023
Try to be more like Mitch, huh? (But make your free throws . . . I kid, I kid.)
On Saturday, Stefan Bondy wrote in the New York Post about Jalen Brunson’s defensive prowess. Brunson has become a defensive asset for the Knicks due to his uncanny ability to draw charges.
Leading the NBA with charges drawn and on pace for a league record of 30 total drawn offensive fouls, the point guard’s approach compensates for his smaller physical attributes.
In Bondy’s piece, Donte DiVincenzo lends some history, coach Thibodeau commends Brunson’s willingness to sacrifice for the team, and Jalen describes the art of his craft: “First, you kind of have to brace yourself. And you don’t really fall flat. . . . You just have to figure out how to fall. Don’t fall flat. That’s the big thing.”
Meanwhile, in the New York Daily News, Kristian Winfield covered coach Thibodeau’s response to Quentin Grimes’ shooting woes.
In his last six games, Quentin Grimes averaged 2.7 points and 4.5 field goal attempts while shooting 19% from the field and 20% from deep. The shooting guard has reached double-digit points in four of 16 games played. Strong defense keeps Grimes in the starting lineup. In Thursday’s game against the Detroit Pistons, he grabbed two steals and tied Isaiah Hartenstein for the night’s best defensive rating, 106. But he recorded no points.
Coach Thibodeau replaced Grimes with Donte DiVincenzo in the fourth quarter versus Detroit. The latter’s 4-of-8 three-point shooting and energy provided the spark the lethargic team needed. After the game, Thibs urged him to maintain mental toughness, highlighting the significance of defensive efforts, running the floor, and navigating tough phases in a player’s career.
In Winfield’s article, Josh Hart empathized with the mental challenges of a shooting slump and echoed Thibodeau’s advice to stay ready, involved, and find ways to be aggressive within the team’s system. We like Grimes, too, and hope more buckets fall soon.
Continuing the shooting slump theme . . . Barbara Barker of Newsday wrote about RJ Barrett’s decline on offense.
Barrett started the season hot, averaging a career-high 22.6 points with 50% three-point shooting, but then severe migraines caused him to miss three consecutive games.
Despite averaging 14.6 points and 20% three-point shooting in the seven games since his absence, Barrett remains optimistic. In Barker’s piece, he acknowledged the challenge of maintaining a 50% three-point shooting rate but expressed his customary confidence. Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau compared Barrett’s situation to Randle’s early-season struggles, noting Randle’s subsequent improvement.
Listed as questionable for Friday’s game with knee inflammation, Julius Randle chose to suit up, showcasing his commitment to playing every game this season. Known to log high minutes, Randle currently ranks 20th in minutes played this season and second on the team behind Jalen Brunson. Randle has averaged 23.7 points per game in the 12 games following a slow start. Per the article, the team has six Knicks, including Randle, who have played every game.
I check the depth chart and injury report at ESPN before each game. What follows is how it usually looks, with nobody marked Out or DD; the opponent’s chart usually has at least one or two guys dinged up. Maybe we should tip our hats to the training and medical staff for helping to keep our guys upright?
Finally, over at TheStrick.land, Prez wrote an excellent article about the Knicks’ improved defense. It’s long because it’s thorough, and it’s well worth your time.
See you Monday. Go Knickabockas!