Thwack! Badoof! Splat! That is the onomatopoeic sound of Mitchell Robinson’s cartoon-like blocks that have raised people from out of their seats all season long at Madison Square Garden.
Mitchell Robinson, a high-school All-American that didn’t play a lick of college ball, has been a rock-swatting sensation in the NBA, leading all rookies for blocks per game, and only trailing behind Myles Turner and Anthony Davis overall. Robinson has surely been one of the most prolific picks from last year’s second round of the draft, but there are some stat lines in particular that may prove why the Louisiana kid may be the most efficient player on the Knicks team. Let’s take a look:
We Barely Lose When He’s on the Court
It’s no secret that it has been a long, hard, tumultuous season for the Knicks, amplified by just our 13 wins and worst record in the NBA. Prior to the loss to the Sacremento Kings on Monday night, in games that Robinson had featured, the Knicks have a -345 point differential to their opponents. Yikes. Hardly shocking news however, as did I mention they had the worst record in the NBA? However, during the minutes Robinson has been on the court, the Knicks have only a -105 point differential, less than a third of their awful total +/- (as per www.basketball-reference.com).
That don’t impress you. Well maybe this will. According to espn.com Hollinger’s NBA statistics, in terms of player efficiency in the NBA, Mitchell Robinson ranks 25th overall.
Now have I got your attention?
That is above bonafide All-Stars such as Bradley Beal, Russell Westbrook, Ben Simmons, Blake Griffin, Kemba Walker, and, yes, I am adding this one for some self-satisfaction, the number one overall pick in the 2018 draft, centre DeAndre Ayton. According to the stats, Mitchell Robinson has added 5.1 wins to the NBA season purely because of his involvement, which is ranked way higher than any other player on the Knicks roster.
Rim Rocker at Both Ends
We’ve already talked a lot about blocks, but for player like Mitch who still seems to never grace the starting five of Coach Fiz’s team, some of his bench stats are off the charts. Looking at the top 5 blocks-per-game players off the bench this season, in reverse order from 5 to 2, you have Maxi Kleber of the Mavericks (1.16), Nerlens Noel of OKC (1.31), Montrezl Harrell from the Clippers (1.35) and Mo Bamba, the rookie from the Magic (1.36). Then, at number on, there’s Mitch, with an astonishing 2.31 blocks per game! Nobody in the NBA coming off the bench even gets close to that!
At the other end of the court, Robinson huffing and stuffing as Clyde Frazier would say has been a highlight reel of excellence. When those alley-oops make it on to an end-of-season compilation video on Youtube, that will be the end of me. However, when it comes to offensive rebounding, Robinson is second in all rookies with 2.6 OREB’s per game, only trailing Ayton, who has 3.2 ORPG. One stat that was doing the rounds on social media the other day was Robinson’s points map, which has to be one of the most outrageous things I’ve seen this season. According to MSG Networks at the back end of last week, Robinson had taken 187 shots this season, and 186 of them were inside the paint! He has only hit one jump shot all season, which he made, from inside the three-point line. His field goal percentage is the best out of all rookies this season with 70.62%, beating out Suns center Ayton with 59.31%.
He’s a Double-Double Machine
Well, I’ll steady on there, but he definitely can be if avoids giving away too many personals on the defensive end. Robinson has finally seemed to find his groove, and after missing the Memphis game one month ago, he has recorded 5 double-doubles in 11 games (up to the Clippers game). Noah Vonleh leads the Knicks in double-doubles with 18, but Robinson has proved that he is capable of putting up similar numbers if they are to persist with him, and if he can continue to play smart.
With Vonleh highly unlikely to be a Knick after the season is over, the hope of many fans is to see Robinson from the start in what few games we have left. While Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier, Damyean Dotson and Frank Ntilikina have all gone through their rough patches, Robinson has stuck to what he does best, blocking the ball and rebounding on the offensive glass. His points and fouls have ducked about here and there, but his consistency in two key areas has been unwavering all season long.