Can Mitchell Robinson be deemed the ‘savior’ of the New York Knicks?
New York Knicks standout Mitchell Robinson turned a lot of heads as a second-round pick in 2018 NBA Draft. He made the All-Rookie Second Team, and was second in the league in blocks per-game, despite not playing in college basketball the season prior. Can the 7-foot-1 center be the face of the franchise?
The center as the best player on a good team is rare in today’s NBA. Most teams are lead by elite point guards or two-way wing players. Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Nikola Vučević were the clear top player on their respective playoff teams, and Rudy Gobert is, right now, better than Donovan Mitchell, so that makes four of sixteen playoff teams having their best player be a center. Can Mitchell Robinson be added to that list in the near future?
Robinson averaged seven points and rebounds as a rookie. If his numbers after the Kristaps Porzingis trade are isolated — where he really began to turn the corner — it becomes 10 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Keep in mind, he only started seven of the 31 games.
These numbers come despite Robinson not fully understanding how to play basketball. If the numbers stay the same, over his NBA career, the Knicks will have received great value for a second-round pick. The expectation and the likelihood will be that he improves and expands his game.
Robinson’s game right now is just running, jumping, and dunking. It is very similar to what Clint Capela is now. His finishing and touch around the rim are legit already. He has the foot speed to make quick decisions around the hoop; and what Knick fans love the most about him on the defensive end is the ability to block jumpers.
This ability of Robinson’s can have an impact in modern NBA defenses where teams tend to have a switch-everything game plan. His desire was to add a 3-point shot to his repertoire. If he can be respectable from there, it would deepen his game and help out teammates.
Robinson’s current teammate, Julius Randle, has developed a three-point shot that opponents have to respect over the years. He shot outside jumpers in high school, but was nonexistent from behind the arc for years in-between.
Robinson also has the intangibles to be the face of a franchise, as he is a genuinely funny person and has a lot of personality to be the figure of a marquee franchise in New York. NBA players can be awkward when interviewing their peers. However, he is not. “Mitch’s Block Party” is a short interview put on the Knicks’ social media pages that are entertaining. He’s interviewed his teammates Damyean Dotson, Kevin Knox, and Ignas Brazdeikis.
Robinson was an afterthought in the 2018 NBA Draft for most teams and fell into the second round. Luckily for the New York Knicks, they may have found a real franchise player.