If there is one player who has helped their stock the most by competing in NBA summer league, it’s New York Knicks rookie Mitchell Robinson.
On the defensive end, he should be able to make a tremendous impact for the Knicks next season and for years to come as he continues to develop. It was clear during his time in Las Vegas that he has the necessary intangibles, which were on display whenever guarding the opposition.
Robinson averaged 4.0 blocks per game, which is the most ever recorded in summer league. He added 13.0 points and 10.2 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game, while shooting 66.7 percent from the field. In his best performance, he totaled 14 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks in just 19 minutes. His 6.2 offensive rebounds per game were also the most in summer league history.
For comparison, No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton averaged 14.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.0 block per game for the Phoenix Suns. Ayton was on the floor for an additional two minutes in each game he played as well.
It’s just exhibition basketball, but it was especially refreshing to see Robinson in great shape considering he did not play competitively last season after foregoing his sole collegiate season.
While it’s worth applauding his defensive skill set, the big man also showed tremendous offensive efficiency. He was able to score without having the ball in his hands for most of the possession and, as reporters noted, he hardly had to dribble to get his buckets.
His athleticism has made him a tremendously exciting prospect and one worth watching whenever he steps on the court. When he’s near the basket on either end of the floor, he’s a potential human highlight.
The pace and spacing of the NBA game will be different and assuredly challenging for Robinson, who did not play in the NCAA and will be making the transition from high school to the NBA.
But his size (reportedly 7-foot-1 with a 7-foot-4 wingspan) makes him a nice option for New York. The 20-year-old will have plenty of time to develop in the next few years, but the fact that he showed these flashes in Las Vegas has to excite Knicks brass. It’s even possible that he could emerge as an early contributor for New York.
He plays for a young team in the Eastern Conference, meaning he’ll have time to develop and figure it all out. Still, he will certainly be a name worth watching over the next few seasons.