To most familiar with Mitchell Robinson, there’s an undeniable defensive upside. Keeping his recent buzz about the other side of the ball out of focus, bringing Taj Gibson’s wisdom in the fold could really expedite his growth on D.

Mitchell Robinson stands to gain greatly from Taj Gibson. In his career, Taj always gave his all on the floor and was often not shy about being a leader on the defensive end. Reliable and mentally tough, he always found a way to remain relevant in the league; a feat that is also not appreciated often. Some retire early while others disappear; the league is so unforgiving when athleticism goes, and your role shrinks.

Being a veteran, especially one like Taj, in the NBA holds a serious game and mental value. The mind inside can begin to mold the fragile minds of the youth and strengthen them to withstand the turbulence of the league, both on and off the court. That is his value to the team as a whole, but Mitchell stands to gain something greater.

Before we actually get to that, we cannot forget to highlight how special Mitchell Robinson is.  He is already one of the best shoot blockers in the league, and I’d contest he already is.

NameBLKS Per GameTBLKSGames PlayedMost Possible BLKS
Myles Turner2.719974222
Rudy Gobert2.318781189
Brook Lopez2.217981181
Mitchell Robinson2.416166197
Javale McGee214875164

Giving the potential blocks per a full healthy season (82 games) of play, Mitchell is sturdy in second for his rookie year. He also has a unique ability to block shooters on the perimeter. He’s incredibly long and athletic and stands to benefit from getting stronger during the off-season and just having a season under the belt usually helps with players conditioning.

18-19 BLK Leaders Rookie YearBLKS Per GameMost possible BLKS2nd year BLKS Per game2nd Year Most Possible BLKS
Myles Turner1.41152.1173
Rudy Gober0.9742.3189
Brook Lopez1.81481.7140
Mitchell Robison2.41973.1251
Javale McGee1821.7140

Here is a different table. It looks at the top five shoot blockers in their rookie years. Taking the average factor of change (roughly .65 BLKS per game) from their first and second year and added that number to Robinson’s rookie year average. Just looking at their rookie numbers to their own, Robinson is a ridiculous outlier.

The average BLKS per game without him is roughly 1.1. and with him, it is 1.5. Putting that into the perspective of the other four top shot blockers last season, three of their rookie year averages are less than the average after adding Mitchell’s numbers. Time will tell the story but based on the journey of others, the future for this young man is glowing.

Now that back to my original point- the true value Taj Gibson has for Robinson is passing on the knowledge of being an elite defender without blocking shots. If his rookie year is any indication he’ll always be an elite blocker, but Taj was always an elite defender right out the gate without being a great shot blocker. If Robinson can not only be an imposing shot blocker but become a headache for teams too like how Gibson was, his defensive ceiling is as boundless as his reach.

Don’t be surprised if you see Mitchell become a multi-year lock for All NBA Defense.

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