It takes a special player to earn a spot on this list after just one season in the NBA. Mitchell Robinson still has ways to go before he becomes a household name across the league, but his production as a rookie says a lot about his immense potential found late in the draft by New York.
Robinson’s path to the NBA was certainly the one less traveled by. Ranked ninth overall in the recruiting class of 2017, he skipped the chance to play college basketball in order to prepare for the 2018 NBA Draft.
Blessed with a lanky frame and incredible hops, the foundation was certainly in place, but even the raw abilities weren’t enough to prove he was worth a first-round selection after he spent a year away from the game.
The Knicks managed to scoop him up with an early second-round selection, a move met with rave reviews as a low-risk, high-reward play. Robinson would then catch a number of eyes at NBA Summer League, displaying his massive length and defensive instincts with 10.2 rebound and 4.0 blocks in less than 30 minutes per game.
As the regular season dragged on, Robinson struggled at times in keeping out of foul trouble and injuries cost him 16 games in total. He still managed to wow over Madison Square Garden with the unique ability to block any and all shots with either hand to serve as a rim-rattling pick-and-roll threat.
Despite averaging just 20.6 minutes per game, Robinson still managed to rank second in the entire NBA in blocks per game with 2.4. He was so productive that his 6.3 Box Plus/Minus ranks fourth all-time among rookies behind legends like David Robinson and Michael Jordan.
For his efforts, Robinson was named a member of the All-Rookie Second Team. The 2018 NBA Draft class is one of the most stacked in recent memory. For a little-known second-round selection to put himself among players taken far ahead of him should have Knicks fans giddy with joy at the likely future Mitchell has ahead of him.