Knicks’ big man could be carving out an All-NBA defensive campaign

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at New York Knicks
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA season is still very young, but New York Knicks big man Mitchell Robinson is already carving out an All-NBA defensive campaign.

Mitchell Robinson was lockdown against Victor Wembanyama

Robinson hosts a 100.9 defensive rating, averaging 29.9 minutes per game this season, including 6.5 points, 12.4 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and one block. He is far outpacing his career average of eight rebounds per game, but what he did against Victor Wembanyama truly showcased his dominance.

Wembanyama was looking to make a big impression in his debut at MSG, but he was instead stifled by the phenomenal Knicks’ defense. Robinson specifically contributed a 30 +/-, including 12 rebounds, five of which were offensive. He also posted eight points, converting three field goals on four attempts.

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Jalen Brunson praises Robinson’s performance

“I think Mitch did a great job just understanding what Wemby likes to do, making it difficult for him,” Jalen Brunson said. “It’s the NBA. It’s really hard to stop people one-on-one. But I think Mitch did a great job of trying to make everything difficult for him. The whole team did. We tried to show him bodies. Obviously, he can see over everybody. We just tried to make it difficult for him.”

Robinson is leading the Knicks’ defense

Robinson may want to expand his offensive game to help contribute toward a Knicks team that has big aspirations this season, but his defensive quality is what makes him one of the most exciting pieces on the roster.

Guarding Wembanyama, Robinson forced him to go 0–6 from the field, showcasing just how dominant he can be when he’s on his game. Many reflect on his playoff appearance last year against the Cleveland Cavaliers when he destroyed Jarret Allen and Evan Mobley on the boards.

The biggest variable with Robinson is health and maintaining that as the season progresses. He’s been disrupted by inconsistencies in the health department in the past, but as long as he can stay on the court, there’s no question he can be one of the best defensive big men in the game.