Could the Knicks have a Defensive Player of the Year candidate this season?

Moses Brown, Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks

For the New York Knicks under the tutelage of head coach Tom Thibodeau, the undervalued attribute of defensive dominance is paramount to the identity of the team. Primarily defensive-dominant players have become a rarity in today’s NBA. But defensive anchor Mitchell Robinson insists on becoming even better every season, staying healthy and growing his case for Defensive Player of the Year.

Since Robinson entered the NBA, he has continued to develop into a defensive stopper. With a career-high nine blocks in only his 12th career game, glimpses from his rookie season suggested the sky is the limit. Unfortunately, untimely injuries have stunted the growth of a still-young Robinson, whose potential is sky-high entering the 2023-24 season. 

The Knicks have something special progressing in Mitchell Robinson

The slow progression of Robinson has been an underlying asset. Not only do the Knicks have a true difference-maker in a healthy Robinson, but they also have one of the greatest-valued contracts in the NBA.

Making $15 million this upcoming season, Robinson is now going into his sixth season on a descending contract, maximizing the value of the former all-rookie. Not many teams boast a player of Robinson’s caliber, and the NBA world is on notice with how great he played against the Cavaliers last playoffs.

Going ballistic with eleven boards in the series-clinching game 5, Robinson performed better than both Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley when the lights shined brightest. 

Could Robinson become the DPOTY?

Blockness Monster is consistently underrated. The narrative going into this upcoming season is higher expectations for the still-developing Robinson. On this Knicks team, it is vital to be a star in your role. In doing so, simultaneously elevating teammates and setting the tone. That is what Robinson does on defense.

A team predicated on their defensive identity means Robinson is one of the most important pieces on this team. Holding the record for the most offensive rebounds in Knicks history, the dominance of Mitchell Robinson can not go without mentioning.

He is getting better as the New York Knicks follow suit. The Knicks defied expectations last season with a healthy season out of Robinson. Now, entering the 2023-24 season, Robinson has a strong chance to become the Defensive Player of the Year. 

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