The Knicks are a surprising 3-2 since starting center Mitchell Robinson broke his right hand.
The new center tandem of Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson have provided rebounding and defense in those five games.
But the duo have combined to average just 11.4 points. Tuesday’s loss to the Warriors showed that the Knicks still may need a scoring upgrade to remain in playoff position because Robinson will be on the mend into late March.
According to an NBA source who has been in touch with the Knicks, they have made no decisions, but are “analyzing” whether making a play for on-the-block Cavaliers center Andre Drummond makes sense from a chemistry and winning standpoint. The Knicks are the NBA’s lowest-scoring team.
The Cavaliers are getting desperate as they shop Drummond, who has been benched the past two weeks while they try to find him a new home. The Cavaliers are not believed to be seeking a high price.
One of the Knicks’ trove of second-round picks and an extraneous roster piece such as Austin Rivers or Frank Ntilikina, both out of the rotation and free agents this summer, probably would do the trick.
The Knicks, who still have $15 million of cap space, are the team with the most flexibility to slip the 27-year-old Drummond’s expiring $28 million contract onto their roster.
The Post has reported Drummond, a Mount Vernon native, would consider the Knicks a solid destination. The Cavaliers, after an 8-8 start, are now all in on rebuilding around ex-Nets center Jarrett Allen, whom they acquired in the James Harden mega-deal.
Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks want to make the playoffs this season, but are thin up front.
Thibodeau still hasn’t often used a small-ball alignment, with first-time All-Star Julius Randle at center and rookie Obi Toppin at power forward. Thibodeau has also mulled — but not employed — putting 3-point shooter Kevin Knox back into the rotation as a power forward, with Randle at center.
Toppin looked good Tuesday, going 3-of-3 with a pretty alley-oop slam, a hook shot in the lane and a late 3-pointer.
Meanwhile, Drummond has been a double-double wrecking ball for years and is averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds. His rebounding mark is second in the NBA.
Drummond’s field-goal percentage is 47.4 — which, because he’s a big man, has analytics gurus concerned.
Some pundits wonder if spacing with Randle could be an issue. Drummond has taken just 21 field-goal attempts from more than 10 feet away from the rim, according to NBA.com. Robinson, however, has taken zero shots from 10 feet away.
A trade for Drummond as a rental would also serve as a good experiment to see if Randle, now considered a long-term piece, has chemistry with Drummond, who’s a two-time All-Star, but is considered an old-school center despite his improved passing and free-throw shooting.
The Raptors were working on a deal for Drummond, but the salary-cap mathematics are difficult. Toronto would have to ship away multiple players. There’s talk Drummond could be bought out if no deal can be found.
One factor in support of adding Drummond is the state of Noel’s knees. Noel missed five games this season with sore knees, and now he’s averaging 27 minutes since Robinson’s injury. There is no timetable for Robinson’s return.
Noel also has been in foul trouble and, according to some scouts, doesn’t have the size or strength to do consistently what Robinson does.
Asked if the Knicks need to add help, Thibodeau said: “I think the focus for us, for me, is to work with the guys we have. I think they’ve made good strides. I think there’s obviously a lot of room for improvement.”