New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson has bulked up in a serious bid to show heâ€™s ready for a bounce-back season that should be worthy of a huge investment.
With his contract extension looming on the horizon, Robinson reported back to New York ahead of the training camp bigger and stronger.
â€œMitch looks good, man. Mitch is brolic; heâ€™s big,â€ Randle said in an interview with Ian Begley of SNY. â€œYou can tell that he took the weight room seriously.â€
Two significant injuries limited Robinson to just 31 games last season. But the Knicks closely monitored his recovery, according to his trainer Marcell Scott in anÂ exclusive Empire Sports Media story last month.
Robinson revealed in a now-deleted tweet heâ€™s currently weighing 280 pounds, a 30-pound increase from last year when he reported to training camp at 250 pounds. The former second-round pick has now amassed close to 60 pounds since entering the NBA on a lean 223-lb frame in 2018.
The Knicks sorely missed Robinson in their first-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
Clint Capela, who is listed modestly at 240 pounds, threw his weight around the Knicksâ€™ decimated frontline. Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson tried their best, but they were overmatched down low. Capela wreaked havoc with a constant double-double game (13.4 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks) as a roll man and a lob threat — a perfect match to Trae Youngâ€™s backcourt wizardry.
Randle is optimistic of their chances this coming season with a healthy and ripped Robinson.
â€œSo Mitch looks good, and heâ€™s one of those pieces that people donâ€™t even really know that we had last year because he missed so much time. So heâ€™s going to be a huge factor for us coming into this year, for sure,â€ Randle said.
Robinson has set his eyes on the Defensive Player of the Year award. But with Noel back on a three-year deal (team option on the final year), Robinson has competition for the starting spot again.
Iron sharpens iron.
The jury is still out on Robinson after a long layoff, but he is bound to get better with healthy competition internally. And throw in the added motivation that heâ€™s playing for his next contract, expect the 23-year old center to go all out from the get-go.
— alder almo (@alderalmo) September 17, 2021
Due to earn $1.8 million this season, a relative bargain compared to his peers, Robinson is out to prove heâ€™s also worthy of heavy financial investment.
This summer, he watched Boston Celticsâ€™ young center Robert Williams bagged a $54-million, four-year contract extension. Capela locked for two additional seasons with the Hawks to the tune of $46 million.
Robinson is eligible for a contract extension worth up to $51 million in four years. But the Knicks are on a wait-and-see mode.Â And their young but bold center is eager to flex his muscle and show what heâ€™s been working on this summer.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo