What should the NY Knicks do about Mitchell Robinson?
It’s not so much that I am not sold on Mitchell Robinson the player, in fact, I know the series against the Atlanta Hawks would have looked a whole lot different had Mitch been available.
It’s just that in my opinion, the Center position in the NBA has gone the way of the Running Back in the NFL in that unless you have an absolutely supreme talent i.e. Joel Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns, or Nikola Jokic, teams can kinda get away with plugging and playing a rotation of 2 or even 3 solid guys.
In the NFL, teams are generally gun shy when it comes to pulling the trigger on huge contract extensions for running backs because the position has one of the shortest shelf lives, and generally speaking, most teams aren’t winning Super Bowls when their Running Back is their best player.
Now of course, if you have a guy like Embiid or Joker, you’re not thinking twice when it comes to paying them the big bucks.
But when’s the last time a team won an NBA title with a Center as the best player on their team?
Second best? I’ll wait.
So you might be asking “What the heck does this have to do with Mitch?” Well, I’m glad you asked.
Is Mitch expected to be the best, second best, or even third-best player on the Knicks at any point in the foreseeable future?
But is Mitch on the same level as the Joker’s, Embiid’s, or Towns’ of the world?
Let’s be real with ourselves here, also no…and he never will be…and that’s okay. He doesn’t need to be.
The point is, although there are a lot of reasons to believe in Mitch as the Knicks’ Center of the future, the idea of trading him at this upcoming season’s deadline before he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer cannot be off the table.
I get that he’s a special player and the Knicks are lucky to have him.
I also get that he’s reportedly weighing in at 280lbs these days after coming into the league at a mere 223lbs just 3 years ago.
But because he’s not a dynamic, scoring big-man who can stretch the floor and even create a bit for others, if he ends up asking for too much money on his next contract, I’d rather let him loose and take my chances on a few cheaper options to man the 5-spot.
And frankly, yes, it has a lot to do with his injury history on top of just his limited offensive skill set.
Last year he dealt with two absolutely freak injuries but he’s also had a number of little ticky-tack injuries every year since he was drafted.
I have a hard time stomaching the concept of committing a bunch of money to a guy who can’t offer a lot on offense AND gets hurt a little more often than I’d like.
Take a look at Utah for example.
Rudy Gobert is considered a generational, defensive talent, and yet, the Jazz don’t produce the same level of success in the postseason as they do in the regular season.
Because they’ve committed max money to Gobert, they can’t pair Donovan Mitchell with the necessary complementary star to actually win in this league.
They’ll lose ‘Spida’ either via trade or eventually free agency because of this.
Not saying Mitch is going to demand anything close to max money but if I were Leon Rose, I’d rather give two guys between $5-10 million each per year and rotate them and use the remaining cap space towards what could be the Knicks’ next Superstar acquisition or a great role player on the wing for example.
I know this slide is a bit long-winded but I felt I really needed to make this point and for whoever is out there reading this, I hope you understand where I’m coming from and agree.