2: Mitchell Robinson
While he ranks higher on the list of underpaid Knicks, Mitchell Robinson hasn’t had the linear improvement that Grimes has shown. Last season he averaged 7.4 points per game, the second-lowest mark of his career since he put up 7.3 points as a rookie in 2018-19.
It’s nearly impossible to evaluate Robinson’s impact solely based on traditional counting stats. One of the unsung heroes on the team, he does the dirty work that often goes unnoticed. In fact, he’s one of the best in the association at doing it.
Robinson is a shot-blocking menace who has grown from an excited youngster who jumped at every opportunity to stifle a shot attempt at the risk of racking up fouls to a mindful veteran who uses the threat of rejection to deter opposing drives into the paint just as often as he sends a lazy layup attempt into the stands.
This has allowed him to stay on the court for longer periods of time due to his reduced penchant to commit quick fouls, which has helped the team as a whole maintain a strong defensive presence with their anchor on the floor instead of on the bench.
The 25-year-old is also a machine on the glass, finishing with the second-most offensive rebounds in the association last season. He also led the league in box outs per game, according to NBA.com, helping his teammates secure easier boards.
The Knicks signed him to a four-year, $60 million contract last summer. Robinson will make a little over $15 million next season, putting him just outside the 100 highest-paid players in the league. His contract also descends in value each year, meaning that he’ll likely become even more of a bargain as he enters his athletic prime.