‘Brolic’ Mitchell Robinson is a man on a mission on contract year

knicks, mitchell robinson

New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson has bulked up in a serious bid to show he’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.

“Mitch looks good, man. Mitch is brolic; he’s big,” Randle said in an interview with Ian Begley of SNY. “You can tell that he took the weight room seriously.”

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 an exclusive Empire Sports Media story last month.

Robinson revealed in a now-deleted tweet he’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 Knicks’ 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 Young’s backcourt wizardry.

Randle is optimistic of their chances this coming season with a healthy and ripped Robinson.

“So Mitch looks good, and he’s one of those pieces that people don’t even really know that we had last year because he missed so much time. So he’s going to be a huge factor for us coming into this year, for sure,” 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 he’s playing for his next contract, expect the 23-year old center to go all out from the get-go.

Due to earn $1.8 million this season, a relative bargain compared to his peers, Robinson is out to prove he’s also worthy of heavy financial investment.

This summer, he watched Boston Celtics’ 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. And their young but bold center is eager to flex his muscle and show what he’s been working on this summer.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Mission DPOY: Trainer Marcell Scott lays out plan for Mitchell Robinson’s bounce-back season

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The New York Knicks remain heavily invested in their 23-year old center Mitchell Robinson despite the Myles Turner trade rumors.

After the Knicks exercised their $1.8 million team option that will make Robinson an unrestricted free agent next summer, Empire Sports Media has learned that the team is closely monitoring his physical conditioning to get him ready for the training camp.

“Some of the Knicks staff is here in New Orleans making sure he is straight physically. They are truly invested in Mitch,” Robinson’s trainer Marcell Scott told Empire Sports Media. “It’s gonna be a great year!”

Robinson’s ascent as one of the premier defensive big men in the league got sidetracked last season after a pair of serious injuries — fractured hand and foot — limited him to just 31 games. In that small sample size last season, the young center flashed promising signs of improvement under defensive guru Tom Thibodeau and big man’s whisperer Kenny Payne.

Robinson learned to stay disciplined on and off the court. His foul rate (2.8 per game) went down to its lowest in his three seasons in the league, leading to an increased playing time of 27.5 minutes per game.

The rebounding numbers shot up in the process to 8.1 from 7.0 per game last season. His blocked shots may have gone down (1.5 from 2.0 per game last season), but that is because he has learned to play more with his feet and not just by his hands.

Robinson finished fourth among centers in defensive win shares (0.114) behind Rudy Gobert (0.181), Joel Embiid (0.135), and Anthony Davis (0.125) last season, according to NBA.com.

Overall, his numbers — 8.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 1.5 blocks — don’t scream a star center, but he’s starting to fit in nicely to Thibodeau’s system as their anchor in the middle before the injuries. Offensively, he was limited to just catching lobs and cleaning up the boards, but that could change soon if he can show improvements on his shooting and with a better point guard coming in to orchestrate plays for the team.

On a contract year, Robinson is aching to show he’s worth a significant investment. According to ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks, Robinson is eligible for a contract extension worth up to $51 million.

“He must have a good season. No excuses! He’s well capable so no worries about this end,” Scott said.” The boy is good.”

But Scott made it clear that he is in no way part of the negotiating camp of Robinson for his next NBA contract.

“I just train. I don’t do anything else. That [next contract] is his agency’s decision. Now, will he be ready? Absolutely,” Scott said. “He will be fine. God is looking over him.”

Robinson is now on his sixth agent, Thad Foucher and Joe Smith of the Wasserman Group, after moving on from super-agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports last year.

But that’s the least of Scott’s concerns as he said that this summer’s priority is to have Robinson at full strength before they can set their sights on their goals, including the coveted Defensive Player of the Year award.

“No major training as of now, he’s just staying healthy and getting stronger. I just want him to be ready to do everything the coach asks of him,” Scott said. “DPOY (Defensive Player of the Year), make free throws are the goals for next season. Everything else just comes with being the high-energy guy on the floor.”

Last year, Robinson shot a career-worst 49.1 percent at the line on just 1.7 free throws per game. Scott already has a plan in place to have Robinson work on improving that.

If things go according to plan, Robinson is in line for a redemption season that will hopefully lead to a bigger payday down the line.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo