While drafting Kevin Knox and RJ Barrett in the first rounds of the past two NBA Drafts automatically puts more expectation on their shoulders, New York Knicks second-year center Mitchell Robinson is taking advantage of the lack of pressure.
With everyone so focused on how Barrett will perform in 2019 and if he can live up to his potential, Robinson has sat quietly in the background excelling at everything he does. In fact, he could very well break out next season after a solid rookie campaign. He was recently added to the USA Select Team along with 24-year-old teammate Julius Randle.
Having a center as your best player is a rarity in the modern-day NBA, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Eerily similar to Clint Capela, Robinson is raw in his abilities and focuses on the basics – jumping, running, and dunking with ferocity. Having quality footwork and different inside moves are all a work in progress, but he’s developing them and those new skills will play an important part in his future success.
The next step Robinson is looking to take is to add a three-point shot to his repertoire, something he utilized in high school ball. Aside from Mitchell’s tangible traits, his intangibles are excellent. A calming presence in the locker room and a good person off the court, he’s built for the New York media and handling the criticism that ultimately comes with it.
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The hope is that he can continue to improve and develop a positive relationship with the fan base. Confidence is an important thing in NY — as quickly as you gained it you can lose it overnight. The fans and analysts are vicious, but if you can excel, there isn’t a better place to play in the world.
The Knicks brought in 10-year veteran Taj Gibson to help mentor Robinson and teach him the intricacies of the game. The center is only going into his second season, which attests to the massive ceiling he theoretically has.