The Knicks’ first sport following Mitchell Robinson’s thumb surgical procedure didn’t go effectively on protection Friday evening at Atlanta, nevertheless it provided a glimpse at their considering relating to the middle place in his absence.
Jericho Sims did not play a minute for 5 consecutive video games till Robinson was injured Wednesday within the first quarter of a house loss to the Wizards, however the second-year huge man moved into the beginning lineup and logged a season-high 28 minutes Friday in a 139-124 loss to the Hawks.
Backup heart Isaiah Hartenstein remained on the second unit, scoring two factors in 17 minutes.
“We’ve gone forwards and backwards. I be ok with each guys. Part of it was to attempt to preserve some rhythm with the second unit,” coach Tom Thibodeau mentioned after the loss Friday, the Knicks’ third in a row getting into their go to to Toronto on Sunday. “Part of it’s you need each teams to operate effectively. What provides us the most effective likelihood to win? It might change primarily based on matchups. We simply appreciated the way in which that was going to move for us.”
Barring a frontcourt addition forward of the Feb. 9 commerce deadline, Thibodeau mentioned the 2 facilities are “most likely going to play the identical” minutes with Robinson sidelined for the following a number of weeks, with the potential for additionally utilizing Julius Randle at heart often in a smaller lineup.
Sims completed with 12 factors on 6-for-6 capturing Friday and grabbed eight rebounds with two steals. He had been used because the second-unit energy ahead alongside Hartenstein whereas Obi Toppin was sidelined for greater than a month with a leg damage, however Sims then was dropped from the rotation as soon as Toppin returned to the lineup Jan. 9.
“I really feel fairly good about it. Time will inform. I feel I’m going to get higher from right here,” Sims mentioned after the sport. “Just carry on bringing power, effort.”
Sims’ profile at each ends of the ground is extra related to Robinson’s than that of Hartenstein, who was signed to a two-year contract price $16 million as a free agent final summer time. Hartenstein was billed as a passing huge man able to hitting pictures from 3-point vary after connecting on 62.6 p.c of his field-goal makes an attempt and 46.7 p.c from lengthy distance final season with the Clippers.
But Hartenstein’s career-low 48.8 capturing share in 18.5 minutes per sport via 47 appearances (seven begins) consists of simply eight made 3-pointers in 33 makes an attempt this season (24.2 p.c).
“I feel there was sure stuff the place I most likely missed [shots] I usually make, and I feel which may assist me simply get again in rhythm,” Hartenstein mentioned Friday. “Some stuff is on me. Some stuff is simply possibly I have not discovered the rhythm or the pictures I usually get.
“It’s all stuff I usually make, so I feel there was some possibly psychological half the place I used to be possibly slightly pissed off, however then I simply gotta management what I can management and it will come again.”
Thibodeau was sad with his crew’s general lack of defensive depth Friday evening with out Robinson, who ranks fifth within the NBA with 1.8 blocked pictures per sport. But he believes Sims and Hartenstein can do the job on the defensive finish.
“The rim safety for each is great,” Thibodeau mentioned. “We haven’t got to change. Jericho and Isaiah have been within the rotation, and that was one of many issues that stood out once we have been buying these guys was the rim safety. We felt each have been succesful.
“That’s an essential a part of at the moment’s NBA. What Jericho provides you is a bit more versatility with his ft. Isaiah, the look is totally different as a result of it opens up the ground and pulls folks away from the basket.”