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. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

NY Knicks: What’s next for Mitchell Robinson?

Here we are entering year 4 and Mitchell Robinson will be heading into the final year of his rookie contract.

Still a few years away from entering his prime, Robinson has shown the NY Knicks plenty of reasons to sign him to an extension.

If the Knicks were to get rid of Robinson, what would be the plan at center? Draft someone and pray they’re as good as him? Start Nerlens Noel?

The idea that Robinson would be overvalued at a contract of 15 million per year is bizarre to me. A 23-year old center who is an established shot blocker and rebounder at 15 million per year is not only a very tradeable contract, it could wind up being a tremendous value for New York.

What gets lost in the Mitchell Robinson conversation nowadays is how raw he was coming into the league. We’re talking about a player who didn’t play organized basketball the year before he was drafted and came into the league averaging 2.4 blocks in 20.6 minutes per game.

Maybe the fact he actually played a sizeable amount of minutes in his rookie year has cursed his narrative. The idea that after his rookie year he was going to take big incremental jumps in his traditional stats, and by now he’d be developing a 3-point shot and 4-dribble combos.

Young centers take time. There’s a reason only one center (Karl-Anthony Towns) has won Rookie of The Year in the last 15 seasons.

Remember the NY Knicks teams that Robinson was drafted into?

I know you’ve probably repressed them in your minds but before last season he was playing under the tutelage of David Fizdale with Willy Hernangomez, Kristaps Porzingis, Noah Vonleh, and Enes Kanter as his frontcourt running mates.

The guards that he was able to run pick & rolls with included Elfrid Payton, Trey Burke, Emmanuel Mudiay, and the recently retired Ron Baker.

Now he has Tom Thibodeau and Kenny Payne as his basketball senseis? He gets a season of being the roll-man for Kemba Walker, Derrick Rose, Evan Fournier, and RJ Barrett? This is his chance to show how dominant he can be with talent around him.

In my recent player stats projections article, I had Robinson playing in 79% of next season’s games with averages of 10.6 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game. It’s a statistical jump, but I think it’s an attainable one.

Last year’s NY Knicks may have had their best season since 2013 with Robinson injured for half of it, but make no mistake, he’s an important piece of this team’s young core and nucleus going forward. It’s hard to find any evidence that this is the plateau of Robinson’s NBA career. He’s just getting started.

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