New York Knicks Mitchell Robinson
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

New York Knicks rookie Mitchell Robinson begins his rookie season amid skepticism, but he’s making a statement with big plays on both ends.

For the first time in a long time, the New York Knicks have a lot of young talent on the roster. First rounders Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina are the first to come to mind, but Mitchell Robinson could be the wild card of the group.

Robinson left college at Western Kentucky before ever playing a game and at that point, he decided to prepare for the draft instead. Consequently, he fell to the second round despite earlier projections as a lottery pick.

On Monday night, Robinson showed flashes of brilliance. Everything the Knicks front office saw in Robinson was front and center for the world to see.

He’s showing an instinct around the basket and guys are finding him. On the second play, Mudiay finds Robinson in transition for the alley-oop. Robinson follows that up with sound defense against the pick and roll, punctuated with an athletic block.

Robinson also found himself in a brouhaha with 10-year veteran Markieff Morris. Robinson kept his cool while Morris was eventually ejected. He didn’t back down from Morris and he didn’t engage either. He showed serious maturity although maybe he was just intimidated by Morris. If so, he played it off cool.

The big plays and instincts are clearly there for Robinson. Now it’s about rounding out the finer points of his game. He’s going to get pushed around a little bit, he’s going to commit some bad fouls, and he definitely needs to work on his free throws.

Fortunately, this season is about the long-term more than the short-term. No, the Knicks are not tanking, but they won’t feel pressure to hold young players back for the sake of winning.

Keep your eyes on Robinson because he has the potential to be a special player.



NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.