NY Knicks: Comparing Mitchell Robinson to 3 star centers

Mitchell Robinson, NY Knicks (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Mitchell Robinson, NY Knicks (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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NY Knicks
Mitchell Robinson, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

The NY Knicks and Mitchell Robinson appear to be in open talks about a possible contract extension.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, The Knicks have been impressed with Robinson’s offseason workouts and added strength, and general manager Leon Rose is open to signing the young big-man to an extension.

NY Knicks: Mitchell Robinson is on the right career trajectory

With all of the Knicks’ success last season, Mitchell Robinson’s individual success went unnoticed because, well, he wasn’t a part of the team in the 2nd half of the year. Robinson played in just 31 of the team’s 72 games last season and it led to a lot of his progress being overlooked.

Robinson was having an impressive year. With newfound strength and coaching from Tom Thibodeau and Kenny Payne, he became a draining force in the paint, leading the league in box-outs per game as well as 5th in the league in offensive rebounds per game.

The 7 footer was able to be a disruptive force for opposing big men and really took some tremendous strides in his overall defensive awareness.

Unfortunately, his injury has been used as ammunition against him. Robinson, for some reason, has still carried a label of “not being able to stay on the court” from his rookie season, despite last year being 54th in the NBA in fouls per 36 minutes among frontcourt players. To get that stat, I even filtered the players to have played at least averaged 20 minutes per game and have played in at least 20 minutes per game last season, so Mitch actually stacked up as one of the best centers in the NBA in avoiding foul trouble last season.

Last season was by far Mitchell Robinson’s worst in terms of injury. Robinson has now played in:

  • 80.5% of games in 2018-19
  • 92.4% of games in 2019-20
  • 44.1% of games in 2020-21

On top of the missing-games narrative is the idea that he’s too… aloof? Is that the right word? He’s too aloof to invest in?

Is it because of his Tik Tok dances? Posting NBA Youngboy lyrics on social media?

Haven’t we seen enough off-court drama with the Knicks over the last 20 years to recognize when someone’s personality is actually a problem?

The NY Knicks have a very clear budding star center in Mitchell Robinson. A once, raw project player who has done nothing but develop his understanding of the game and improve his physical frame since coming into the league — Mitchell Robinson’s career trajectory to this point is strikingly similar to some of the game’s best centers.

His defensive efficiency, rebounding prowess, power as a rim-runner, and of course, ridiculous size and athleticism are all strong indicators of an even brighter future on the horizon. It might be wise for the NY Knicks to get this extension done now.

Let’s take a look at 3 high-level centers whose careers look similar to Mitchell Robinson’s thus far in his NBA journey.