Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson: From Not Playing In College To The NBA

The New York Knicks could have themselves the steal of the this years draft and no, I’m not talking about Kevin Knox. I’m talking about the Knicks second round pick, Mitchell Robinson. Robinson, a 7-foot-1 McDonald’s All-American and 5-star recruit, has been said to have ‘freakish athletic ability’ despite not playing basketball at the collegiate level.

Knicks’ Robinon’s journey to the NBA:

Robinson was initially committed to play at Texas A&M before he decommited and enrolled at Western Kentucky.  However, his stint at Western Kentucky was very short lived. Robinson practiced with the team briefly in the summer until he reportedly began to have second thoughts on attending Western Kentucky. Since, he was a no-show to practice, Robinson was suspended for violating the team rules. Then, in August of 2017, Robinson re-enrolled back at Western Kentucky until quickly going back on his commitment. Subsequently, this led to Robinson ‘sitting out’ his entire freshman season for the Hilltoppers to prepare for this year’s NBA Draft.  His suspension remains a tad suspicious.

A little bizarre for the Knicks to ‘take a chance’ on a player that has not played overseas or even at the collegiate level.  Robinson could not even play in the G-League due to being enrolled in summer classes briefly. He even withdrew from participating at the NBA combine the day of. Bizarre, yes. But, Robinson does have the talent to make it in the NBA. Throughout his high school career at Chalmette High School in Louisiana, Robinson average 22.9 points-per-game, 12.6 rebounds, 6.9 blocks, and 1.6 steals in 66 games played. Those are some pretty good stats.

If Fizdale is able to fine tune Robinson’s strengths, he can surely be the steal of the draft for the Knicks.  Robinson’s wingspan measures at 7’4’” with a standing reach of 9’3”. Being tall and lengthy gives Robinson the ability to play above the rim with the threat of a lob or furious dunk at any time. Continuing with being long, he has the ability to be a tremendous shot blocker along with a above averaged rim protector. His explosiveness is a god given gift and also has the ability to shoot the ball as well.

Even though all those strengths seem like this guy can be a stud, there are also some major flaws in his game. First off, he’ll need to add strength if he’ll want to contend in the low-post in the NBA. His footwork will need some work as dunks and lobs can’t be the only factor in his game.

Robinson will need to learn how to move effectively on the defensive side of the ball, since he isn’t the only person that can jump out of the gym, and he’ll need to work on his decision making.  Not playing college basketball could have hurt his draft stock even more if the Knicks did not look at all the positives in his game as compared to the negatives.

For what it’s worth, I can see Robinson being similar to Tyson Chandler or Clint Capela, but with a better shot. He can be a shot blocker like Capela and rebounding specialist like Chandler.

Coach Fizdale will be able to dig deep and get everything out of this 20-year-old man with tremendous upside. If Robinson is able to get his head in the game and let himself be tutored by one of the most relatable and gifted coaches in the NBA, then the Knicks may have added yet another young talent to their young rebuild.