Knicks News, 6/26: Mitchell Robinson putting on serious muscle, Jared Butler a big draft target?

New York Knicks, Mitchell Robinson
Dec 26, 2019; Brooklyn, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) reacts during the third quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

One of the Knicks’ major struggles in the postseason was their lack of size and strength at the center position. Both Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson lacked the functional strength to take on Clint Capela in the paint in the first round against the Atlanta Hawks.

In fact, Capella recorded no less than 12 total rebounds in each of the five games against New York, reaching a high of five offensive rebounds in Game 5. It was clear that the Knicks were lacking a threat inside, and the hope is Mitchell Robinson will end up being that force during the 2021-22 season.

Robinson is listed at 240 pounds, but he has been working diligently to increase his weight and physicality down low. Via his Instagram, Robinson is now 275 pounds of muscle, which should help him tremendously when boxing out bigger defenders and picking up rebounds.

This past season, Robinson played in just 31 games after suffering a fractured hand earlier in the year and then a fractured foot in the latter portion. He averaged 8.3 points, 1.5 blocks, and 8.1 total rebounds while shooting .653 from the field. Ultimately, the Knicks missed his impact during the postseason, despite Noel and Gibson playing valiantly during his absence.

Robinson is heading into the final year of his rookie contract after the team picked up his option. They will pay him $1.8 million for the upcoming year at 23 years old, and if he performs well, he could receive an extension. There’s always the possibility the Knicks look to flip Robinson and assets for a player like Pacers’ Myles Turner, who offers more offensive prowess and fantastic shot-blocking in the paint, averaging 3.4 blocks per contest this past season.

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Are the Knicks keying in on Jared Butler out of Baylor?

Baylor point guard Jared Butler could be on the Knicks’ wish list during the 2021 NBA draft. At 6’3” and 195 pounds, Butler has been compared to players like Jrue Holiday, Fred VanVleet, and Seth Curry, but of course, there’s no guarantee he will reach their production levels.

The most intriguing aspect Jared offers is his winning mentality and strong resume. As a First-Team All-American who won the National Championship and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament, he not only offers versatility and quality offensive play from all points on the floor, but he is a legitimate leader that puts forth incredible effort on defense. Despite an underwhelming frame, his workload masks some of his deficiencies.

“My goal, if a team drafts me, is I want to fit their needs,” Butler said. “Whatever they’re lacking, what can I do to plug that gap or hole in their organization? That’s what I plan on doing. Just be reliable and be an impactful player.”

The Knicks have a significant hole at point guard and could use another solid shooter, and Butler offers the flexibility to feature in both spots. This past season, Butler averaged 16.7 points, 4.8 assists, and shot .471 from the field. He also connected on .416 of his shots from three, averaging 6.2 attempts per game. It is clear he can score from all points on the floor, which is exactly what the Knicks need from their point guard position.

Would you be happy if the Knicks selected Jared Butler out of Baylor? Comment below!