Dating back to the Feb 5 game against the Detroit Pistons, Mitchell Robinson has strung together five consecutive games scoring in double figures. Prior to these few games, Robinson had only had back-to-back games in double figures once.
There has been a visible uptick in Mitchell’s performance, but how did he get here?
Robinson’s story begins like most NBA players: on a Division I college basketball team. Robinson was taking some classes during the summer at Western Kentucky when he suddenly cleaned out his dorm room, left campus, and was suspended from the WKU team.
Robinson then announced that he was going to train individually and prepare for the NBA Draft instead of playing college basketball. According to the New York Post, Robinson trained in the gyms six days a week and even met personally with Anthony Davis to prepare for the NBA Draft.
The Knicks should feel very blessed Robinson avoided playing college ball because it allowed Robinson to fall into the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft, where the Knicks selected the 7’1 center with the 36th overall pick.
At one time, Robinson was the number 1 center recruit in the country and a season of college ball would have thrust Robinson into the spotlight with his excellent shot blocking ability, length and athleticism. Instead, the Knicks were able to essentially take a risk on Robinson since he did not play college basketball. After a tumultuous first half of the season, it seems the Knicks’ decision to draft Robinson has paid dividends.
Injury has plagued Robinson’s young career so far, but as mentioned before, he is currently playing very well. In October-December, his FG% was .640 and in January and February, his FG% has improved to .783.
He is getting better shots and his FG% and PPG have increased as a result. Also, in February, he is averaging exactly one more defensive rebound (4.8) than offensive rebound (3.8). This is encouraging as prior to February, the separation between his ORB and DRB was never larger than .1!
Robinson has demonstrated his incredible ability to swallow up offensive boards, but mentorship from new teammate DeAndre Jordan, better positioning, and increased size/physicality will inevitably turn Robinsoon into a menace on the defensive boards.
Defensively, Robinson has impressed with shot blocking ability and over the past two month, Robinson has averaged 2.6 blocks a game.
Overall, his Per 48 numbers are very impressive. 12.5 rebounds, 5.6 blocks and 16.5 points are measurables that show with more minutes, Robinson can turn into a very good player. Obviously he will not play 48 minutes a game, but getting to 28 minutes a game and up should be a target for Robinson and the coaching staff.
One way for Robinson to stay on the floor is to stay out of foul trouble. In November, Robinson averaged 3.9 fouls a game, but recently in the past two months, he has only been averaging 2.6 fouls per game. This shows a great improvement to Robinson’s basketball IQ and his discipline. By fouling less, Robinson has been able to stay on the court more and that has been one of the biggest determinants of his success.
The Knicks look like geniuses for drafting this kid in the second round. It will be exciting to see how much more Robinson develops as he stays healthy and stops fouling.
Featured Image: Tdorante10, Wikipedia