New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson has been heralded for his physical attributes. David Fizdale took the praise to another level entirely.
The New York Knicks have been one of the least athletic teams in the NBA for the better part of the past five seasons. There have been skilled players and up-and-comers with impressive physical measurements, but New York has struggled to adapt athletically.
That’s prevented it from successfully defending the three-point shot, the pick and roll, and slashing playmakers—the three most prevalent offensive strengths in the modern NBA.
New York went a long way towards addressing that issue by selecting Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson at the 2018 NBA Draft. Both have prototypical length for their respective positions, and both have displayed tremendous athletic ability—dire needs in the frontcourt.
In a post-practice interview with reporters, head coach David Fizdale believes that Robinson ranks in the top one percentile of athletes in the NBA.
For those who can’t watch the video, Fizdale had the following to say:
"“Man is he athletic…Kid’s got pretty good feel for the game. He’s in great shape. And athletically, he’s a freak. He’s in the one percentile of high flyers and runners. It’s just not many guys out there that’s that athletic.”"
Robinson, a 20-year-old center, stands around 7’0″ with a monster 7’4″ wingspan. That’s crucial context when discussing Fizdale’s stated belief that he’s one of the fastest and most explosive athletes in the NBA today.
The rest of his game is still something of a question mark, but the Knicks now have a second big man whose physical gifts are off the charts.
Kristaps Porzingis already gave New York’s frontcourt a special talent as a 7’3″ All-Star with almost unprecedented coordination for a player his size. The Knicks now add an explosive athlete whose length can overwhelm players at all five positions.
Between the offensive implications and the defensive upside, Robinson’s measurements and athleticism make him a riveting project.
It’s still early in the process, but the New York Knicks appear to have found a steal of a selection at No. 36 overall in Mitchell Robinson.