Confidence in New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson has never wavered, and the coaching staff remains optimistic he will be a part of their long-term plans. Robinson has one year left on his rookie contract, which will pay him $1.8 million. However, if Robinson can remain healthy for the 2021-22 season, there’s a good chance he is signed to an extension, and the team is hoping it is more friendly than foe.
Robinson managed to play just 31 games last year, averaging 27.5 minutes during those contests. He contributed 8.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and shot 65% from the field. His numbers took a slight dip, but with a larger sample size, there’s no doubt his offerings would’ve been more adequate.
The 7-foot big man has a unique skill set as a defender, containing the qualities to guard at the perimeter and drop down into the paint with his physicality. All-Star power forward Julius Randle used the word “brolic” to describe Robinson and his muscular gains this off-season.
Considering the hard work that Mitchell has put into his development, it is obvious why the Knicks brass still considers him a big part of the team. However, President Leon Rose was careful not to provide any contract expectations, according to SNY.
Knicks’ president Leon Rose side-stepped a question on a contract extension for Mitchell Robinson, providing a positive review instead:
“It’s a work in progress and as far as contract goes, we love Mitchell Robinson and we look forward to seeing him play,” Rose said.
Mitchell Robinson (foot) hasn’t been cleared to play yet. NYK’s Leon Rose & Tom Thibodeau both said they were very encouraged by Robinson’s play prior to his injury. When asked about Robinson’s contract, Rose said: “We love Mitchell Robinson. We look forward to seeing him play.”
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) September 24, 2021
Head coach Tom Thibodeau raved about Robinson’s performance last year before suffering a broken hand. Upon his return, the high-energy center went down with a fractured foot, limiting his statistical output for the remainder of the season.
“Mitch, I thought last year, was really starting to take off when he got hurt,” Thibodeau said. “And then obviously, he had the set back. And this summer he’s put in a lot of time. He hasn’t been able to play. He’s put a lot of time into conditioning, strength and conditioning and whatever he’s allowed to do – being in the pool, weight training, form shooting, watching a lot of film.”
The Knicks retained Nerlens Noel after a successful campaign last season with the Knicks. Noel was looking for a new home, establishing himself as an elite shot blocker. Having two centers capable of featuring in different scenarios is ideal, as Noel can contribute nicely against less physical interior offensive teams. Robinson, with his added muscle, will likely handle players like Clint Capela, whom the team struggled with during the postseason.
Nonetheless, it is nice to see the front office sticking with their young talent and providing encouragement rather than resentment. While the 23-year-old has dealt with injuries in the past, the Knicks are hoping to reverse that negative narrative and start a more positive trend.