Mitchell Robinson could have gone somewhere near the end of the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft, but this was much more fitting.
America’s favorite soap opera during the summer of 2017 is headed to America’s favorite professional sports soap opera, non-Mets division. The New York Knicks took Robinson on Thursday with the 36th overall pick.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re a Knicks fan: Robinson is a 7’1 center who had committed to Texas A&M, then followed coach Rick Stansbury to Western Kentucky when Stansbury took that job. Robinson then de-committed, then recommitted, then was suspended, then left the school without playing a game. Or something like that. It’s tough to keep track. Ultimately, though, he has been out of the public eye for a year now and the guy who had been a potential lottery pick fell into the second round.
It’s not a bad move for the Knicks, to be honest. They already got their instant-impact guy in Kevin Knox at No. 9, and at this point in the draft, a roll of the dice is probably worth it. Robinson fell because he got some bad advice — really bad advice, like, many times. If he can still be the guy that he was supposed to be (and yes, that is a HUGE if), then the Knicks could have gotten an absolute steal.
Robinson has a 7’4 wingspan, is a beast at the rim, and can run the floor better than many players his size. He was an excellent rebounder and shot blocker in high school and on the AAU circuit, though he could use some coaching as his fundamentals aren’t the best.
The good news is that’s fixable. In the meantime, Robinson can finish around the basket and be a deterrent defensively. He’s supposedly added some range to his shot as well, which would be another fun asset.
Robinson might need some time in the D-League to shake off the rust of not playing competitive basketball for a year. And even if he makes the Opening Night roster, there will be a learning curve. One thing to watch out for: his conditioning when he shows up to training camp. Last we heard, Robinson still needed to bulk up a bit and get in better shape. With a year to do that, plus another summer coming up, he could look like a totally different athlete come October. A NBA training program should do wonders for him.
But again, almost everything listed above is speculation because we haven’t seen this guy face real competition since we last saw him on the EYBL circuit. So here, watch some highlights. He’s quite bouncy: