New York Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson is the league’s next dominant center

New York Knicks
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 12: Mitchell Robinson #23 and Reggie Bullock #25 of the New York Knicks look on during the first half of the game against the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden on January 12, 2020 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

A lot of the New York Knicks’ younger players have been subject to scrutiny this season. It’s been hard for them to find consistent production. Yet, on a roster with so much uncertainty, Mitchell Robinson has shown he may have the clearest path to NBA stardom of anyone on the team.

What makes Mitchell Robinson so special?

Robinson’s path to the NBA was bizarre. In an unprecedented move, Robinson did not play any professional or collegiate basketball in the year leading up to the NBA draft. He prepared for it on his own accord. Scouts were still enamored with his lengthy frame and athleticism. He was selected in the 2nd round, 36th overall by the Knicks in 2018.

Mitch’s career to this point has been a rollercoaster. His lack of experience has shown most noticeably in his tendency to get into foul trouble. His timing is erratic. His movements are awkward. Yet these are extremely coachable issues.

Robinson’s physical gifts have allowed him to thrive despite his lack of technical skills. His ability to block shots is extraordinary. He is currently 6th in the NBA in blocks per game while averaging just 22.7 minutes. He was 2nd in blocks last season at 20.6 minutes per game.

It’s not just his defensive potential that stands out. Robinson’s ability to rebound and track the ball is impossible to ignore. He has all the tools necessary to become a dominant center in the NBA. Robinson very much fits the mold of centers like Rudy Gobert, DeAndre Jordan, and Clint Capela. So how do Robinson’s numbers stack up against the players he hopes to become?

Mitchell Robinson first 2 seasons: 116 Games | 21.5 Minutes Per Game | 8.1 PPG | 6.5 RPG | 2.2 BLKPG | .728 FG%

Rudy Gobert first 2 seasons: 127 Games | 20.4 Minutes Per Game | 6.2 PPG | 7.3 RPG | 1.8 BLKPG | .587 FG%

DeAndre Jordan first 2 seasons: 123 Games | 15.5 Minutes Per Game | 4.6 PPG | 4.8 RPG  1.0 BLKPG | .615 FG%

Clint Capela first 3 seasons: 154 Games | 20.2 Minutes Per Game | 9.0 PPG | 6.9 RPG | 1.2 BLKPG | .614 FG%

Mitch is strikingly similar to the players listed above. His numbers, physical profile, and even where he was selected in the draft. Advanced metrics support Robinson’s potential as well. He currently ranks 2nd in the NBA in both true shooting percentage and effective field goal percentage. FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO projection model lists Robinson as a “Future All-Star”.

As the New York Knicks continue to evaluate their roster and construct their future, Mitchell Robinson should be counted on to become a foundational piece. Watch out NBA, Mitch is on the rise.