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Knicks News: Mitchell Robinson says first action was ‘bad’, a few surprise players make 15-man roster

  • Alexander Wilson
  • October 17, 2021
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The New York Knicks are just a few days away from the start of the regular season against the Boston Celtics.

However, the preseason finale against the Washington Wizards gave them an opportunity to get center Mitchell Robinson onto the court for the first time since fracturing his foot last season.

Robinson, who has been working diligently in the weight room to increase his mass and size, showcased some of that power on a few put-back dunks. Robinson enjoyed 27 minutes of play, connecting on 3-of-8 field-goal attempts, picking up nine rebounds and two steals.

However, the 7-foot big man indicated that his first outing wasn’t bad, but it was bad.

“It wasn’t that bad, but it was bad,’’ Robinson said of his conditioning level, per the NY Post.

“I got to work on my finishing, get my touch back,’’ Robinson said. “That’s the main thing. Once I get my conditioning back — that’s the main thing — so I can play all day, I’ll be all right.

Mitch struggled with his conditioning levels, which was to be expected given his inability to run and do stamina training for the majority of this past off-season. It will take him a few games to get back in the flow of things, but playing 27 minutes and holding his own was impressive enough. Robinson also stated that he needs to feel more comfortable around the rim, taking his time instead of rushing shots or opportunities.

“I felt like tonight I rushed it instead of taking my time like I how it was before all this happened,’’ Robinson added.

All of these factors will improve in due time, but Robinson displayed his newfound power and strength in the paint, which should provide Knicks fans with sufficient optimism.

Knicks retain a few surprise players on 15-man roster:

The Knicks waived four players on Saturday, including Brandon Goodwin, Brandon Knight, Aamir Simms, and MJ Walker. While some of these options will likely find their way to the G -League team, the Knicks rounded out their 15 roster players for the regular season. A few interesting retentions include Wayne Selden, Jericho Sims, and even Kevin Knox.

Selden proved enough to retain a spot with the Knicks, and as an experienced veteran in the NBA, he clearly has a bit more value than some younger options or players who haven’t made a significant impact in quite some time. Sims, while young and inexperienced, showed fantastic athleticism and aggressiveness in the paint, and while he needs to work on his defensive positioning, he has significant potential if given the right opportunities and time to grow. Sims is currently on a two-way contract this year but could very well sign a new deal to stick with the team for the next few seasons at a minimal cost.

Knox, who showed signs of life to hold him over for one more season with the Knicks, is likely in his final year with New York. Knox has one more year on his contract until the Knicks have to make a decision on his qualifying offer, which would pay him about $8 million for the 2022-23 season. The team probably doesn’t want to execute his QO, given he contributed just 3.9 points last year. However, against the Pistons last week, Knox contributed six points in 12 minutes, far outperforming his statistics from a season ago.

Ultimately, Knox is a solid bench piece at this point in his career with the team that drafted him, but he is on thin ice given his dwindling minutes over the past three seasons.

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Biden touts savings on insulin and other drugs for Americans

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Is war coming between Russia and Ukraine? Heres what that could mean for you

The two world leaders spoke for about two hours, beginning at 10:07 a.m. ET and ending at 12:08 p.m. ET, the White House said.

Is Russia about to go to war?

There are good reasons to hope for peace and good reasons to believe Russia means war.

The troop buildup on Ukraine's borders is not unprecedented. Russia sent roughly 100,000 troops there last April as part of a military exercise before pulling those troops back and announcing that they had "demonstrated their ability to provide a credible defense for the country." Military leaders and Western analysts interpreted Russia's actions at the time as saber-rattling.

It may be the case that Russia simply wants to bring the U.S. to the table to make demands. After April's military exercise, Biden met with Putin in person for a summit in Geneva last June. Since then their last publicly known conversation was in July.

Russia has previously complained about "aggression" from Western countries because of U.S. and NATO naval patrols in the Black Sea and U.S. and British soldiers being present in Ukraine on training missions. Putin said last week that during Tuesday's meeting he would ask Biden for specific agreements that would prohibit NATO from expanding eastward or deploying weapons near Russia's borders.

But Biden is not likely to agree to Russia's demands that NATO must not admit Ukraine to the alliance. And Ukraine's desire to build stronger ties with the West may be what ultimately provokes Russia to act.

Ukraine is at the center of a geopolitical rivalry between the East and the West. The nation was the second-most populous and powerful of the 15 communist states that made up the Soviet Union, with important agricultural, industrial, and military resources. But it has deep ties to Russia that go back all the way to the Middle Ages — Russia traces its founding to the Ukrainian city of Kyiv.

The country itself is divided. Its western half has a more nationalist, Ukrainian-speaking population that favors greater relations with Western Europe. But a largely Russian-speaking population in the east wants closer ties with Russia. There is ongoing violent conflict in the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists are fighting against the pro-Western government.

Russia would like to see Ukraine come under its control once again. Putin once famously said that the collapse of the Soviet Union was "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century." He seeks to restore Russia to the perceived greatness of the Soviet Union as a superpower, after decades of humiliation following the collapse of the union.

In 2014, under the pretext of protecting ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in Ukraine, Russia annexed Crimea, a peninsula that was in the eastern region of Ukraine, becoming the first European state to annex the territory of another sovereign state since World War II.

Russia could attempt to take more territory from Ukraine under the same pretext, especially if it views the pro-Western government's desire to join NATO as a national security threat. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told CNN that there will be a "really bloody massacre" should Putin invade, said the West must draw a red line in Ukraine, and warned that provoking Russia "will not work."

Reznikov stressed that an invasion would have "disastrous" consequences for the rest of Europe, estimating that as many as 4 to 5 million Ukrainians could become refugees. He also emphasized that Ukraine is a major producer of food for Europe and Africa and that war would disrupt production of those supplies.

What remains unclear is whether the U.S. and the rest of the West are prepared to impose steep costs on Russia for taking such action — although the West previously demonstrated an unwillingness to fight Russia over Crimea.

What would war between Russia and Ukraine mean for me?

The United States' interests in Ukraine are to ensure that the country is stable and sovereign, to act as a buffer against Russia and discourage Putin from taking further military action against other European states.

Before the Russian annexation of Crimea, the U.S. provided Ukraine with an average of more than $200 million in foreign aid per year, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. After Russia's aggressive action in 2014, Washington bolstered aid to Kyiv to more than $600 million annually. The U.S. also provides Ukraine with military training, weapons, and equipment, and NATO allies hold joint military exercises with Ukrainian forces each year.

The U.S. does not recognize Russia's claims to Crimea and has imposed economic sanctions on Russia that will not be lifted until control of the peninsula is returned to Ukraine.

Ukraine wishes to join NATO. In 2020, the country became one of six enhanced opportunity partners, a special status for close NATO allies. But it is not an official NATO ally.

War between Russia and Ukraine would test U.S. and NATO commitments. Biden's administration has already made clear there will be economic consequences for Russia's action. And Congress and other European states would almost certainly approve more foreign aid for Ukraine in the event of war, which could mean additional unfunded government spending.

But that is likely to be the extent of the Western response. It is highly improbable that military intervention from the U.S. or any other state on behalf of Ukraine is politically feasible, or even desired. The U.S. has stated its goal of helping Ukraine defend its "sovereign territory," but military action is not on the table. American troops will not be deployed to fight the Russians any time soon.

If war does break out, it could lead to further disruptions in global energy markets, as Ukraine is a major producer of oil and gas. And if Ukraine's defense minister's predictions about refugees come to fruition, the U.S. may agree to accept some Ukrainian refugees.

President Biden faces the daunting task of balance. He must put enough pressure on Russia to maintain U.S. commitments to Ukraine's sovereignty and independence while avoiding making a promise or threat the U.S. will ultimately not be able to deliver. If he fails, the U.S. will look weaker, America's enemies may be emboldened to take further aggressive action, and potential allies throughout the world would be sent a signal that the United States cannot back up its promises.

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