In light of his recent issues with foul trouble, Knicks rookie center Mitchell Robinson is looking to head coach David Fizdale and fellow center Enes Kanter for guidance.
The 20-year-old Robinson has recorded four fouls in seven of his last 11 games. Fizdale was working with Robinson on his shotblocking, but also took him out of the starting lineup for the past two games with mixed results.
In Tuesday's loss to the Trail Blazers, Robinson recorded two fouls in 18:03, but in Wednesday's win over the Celtics he recorded four fouls in 16:25. Robinson, New York's second-round pick, said he understood why he was taken out of the starting lineup after 12 straight starts.
"As you seen, I didn't get into foul trouble until late in the game,'' Robinson said, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman. "If I started, I would've gotten in trouble and would've sat almost the whole game. My teammates need me to come in and challenge shots.''
But more than the amount of time Robinson spends on the court is how he spends it. Robinson said he has been working on becoming more disciplined on defense so he doesn't bite on shot fakes and so he can stay in the game longer.
"Coach always tells me to be disciplined on the ball, don't go for pump fakes,'' Robinson said. "I took that to my head and just went for it. I got coach on me about that. When they jump and leave their feet, you leave yours, too. It helped me out a lot.''
With Robinson out of the starting lineup, Fizdale has turned to the veteran Kanter, who has played at least 22:59 in each of the past two games. Kanter said in September he would try to mentor Robinson, and the rookie has tried to learn from what Kanter has done to avoid foul trouble.
"I seen what [Kanter is] doing and he's not getting fouls," Robinson said. "Why not do that and at the same time go challenge shots?"