Nerlens Noel’s dynamic play is easing Knicks’ depth points

Who wants one other heart? The Knicks have Nerlens Noel.

Mitchell Robinson has a damaged hand. Backup heart Taj Gibson was again in New York with a sprained ankle and may very well be out awhile.

Coach Tom Thibodeau confronted the Pistons on Sunday with one wholesome heart. And it was greater than sufficient.

The Knicks didn’t die when Robinson went down and Noel grew to become the starter. In truth they’ve thrived, constructing a 6-2 document.

Sunday at Detroit’s Little Caesars Area, Noel was a raging rim protector, notching eight factors, 11 rebounds, three blocks and three steals in 39:37 of court docket time. Noel had performed 41 minutes on Saturday in opposition to Indiana.

Simply ask Detroit rookie Saddiq Bey if the Knicks have to improve the middle place after he obtained humiliated by Noel on a driving stuff try that obtained rejected soundly.

“When you don’t know, you’re going to seek out out,’’ Noel stated about his message for penetrators to the rack. “I’m defending the rim by any means. It’s an incredible side to my sport I attempt to play at a excessive stage. Simply do sufficient to vary the sport. Simply are available and discover out.’’’

Knicks president Leon Rose doesn’t appear prepared so as to add one other heart fairly but. Not with Noel enjoying this properly.

Nerlens Noel
Nerlens Noel goes robust to the basket in opposition to the Pistons.
Getty Photographs

“I positively don’t need anybody harm on this workforce,’’ Noel stated. “However I’ve taken that spot and made a focus to man this workforce and be the anchor on the defensive finish and do the small little issues to assist us win. I feel I’ve been at a excessive stage.’’

If Noel’s knees maintain up, the Knicks needs to be OK. The Put up has reported workforce brass is “analyzing’’ whether or not a transfer for the accessible Andre Drummond is sensible.

Heart DeMarcus Cousins, whose inventory is low, remains to be a free agent after being unceremoniously waived by Houston.

“That’s a Leon query,’’ Thibodeau stated earlier than the sport. “Now we have greater than sufficient on the roster so we’ll work out a manner. Now we have guys that may play a number of positions after which we’re going to need to deal with the rebounding, gang rebound. Everybody has to contribute in that space.’’

Knicks normal supervisor Scott Perry has been on a G-League mission presumably taking a look at heart items. If the Knicks signed a free agent heart they’d have to chop a participant to make room.

One workforce involved with the Knicks stated they wish to maintain down the fort with what they’ve for now.

Gibson’s ankle sprain may very well be severe however the Knicks may play small-ball. Sunday, they briefly used roookie Obi Toppin at energy ahead and Julius Randle at heart.


Thibodeau lastly used a distinct small-ball lineup Saturday he had been contemplating with Kevin Knox at energy ahead and Randle at heart however didn’t want it in routing Detroit. Therefore, Thibodeau performed only a nine-man rotation.


Combo guard Austin Rivers traveled with the workforce to Detroit for Sunday’s sport and was on the bench. The Put up reported Rivers by no means appeared on the Knicks’ bench throughout Saturday’s win.

A Knicks official stated he was getting remedy for an ankle harm however was accessible to play if want be. He’s been taken out of the rotation the previous month after the Derrick Rose commerce. Then in one other slight, Frank Ntilikina was positioned into the rotation when Elfrid Payton went down with a hamstring pressure. Payton missed his third straight sport Sunday. Rivers stated final week he feels he may very well be dealt.


Dennis Smith Jr. scored seven factors with 4 assists, seven rebounds and three steals in his first sport in opposition to the Knicks because the Tremendous Bowl Sunday commerce. However he shot simply Three of 11. The brand new Pistons start line guard might be again on the Backyard Thursday. … The Knicks had been 13 of 26 from 3-point land (50 p.c).