How Mitchell Robinson turns into a bona-fide star player for the New York Knicks
The New York Knicks have accumulated plenty of young players in the past few years. However, fans, league executives, and the Knicks, themselves, all seem to lack consensus on whether or not their young core has the potential to be a serious part of a contending team.
One of these players seems to be destined for stardom by every possible projection, and that is the Knicks’ second-year center, Mitchell Robinson.
By now, many fans know Robinson’s story. Robinson decided to forego college and became the first draft pick in NBA history to not be a part of any college, high school or professional team in the year prior to him being drafted. Instead, he decided to train for the draft on his own accord.
Robinson was selected with the 36th overall in the 2nd round in the 2018 NBA Draft, and the “project player” has already begun to show significant signs of positive development. Robinson, by most metrics, is already the New York’s best player.
FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR model – a modern statistical model that emphasizes play-by-play data and player tracking – has Robinson as one of the few players in the NBA with both a positive offensive and defensive rating.
Mitchell Robinson came into the league raw. He had physical gifts and lacked experience.
The fact that Robinson is already positively impacting the game in multiple areas by mostly relying on his athleticism and instincts leaves many wondering how high his ceiling really can be.
At this point in his NBA journey, Robinson has looked the part of a rim-protecting, alley-oop catching big man. Almost all of Robinson’s points come from dunks and put-back attempts. He may remind many fans of former Knick Tyson Chandler.
Some of the best big men of the last few years who share that same player profile include Rudy Gobert, Clint Capela, and DeAndre Jordan. I highlight these players because they, like Robinson, were selected late in the draft, and their statistics in their first few seasons are strikingly similar to his.
So where does Mitchell Robinson go from here? How does he take the next step from being an ascending prospect to one of the best centers in the NBA?