Mitchell Robinson is flashing elite defensive potential and New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale has big plans for the center’s future.
Mitchell Robinson is one of the biggest surprises from the 2018 draft class. The former McDonald’s All-American was a bit of a mystery after sitting out what would have been his freshman season in college. The New York Knicks took a chance on him in the second round and that risk is paying off.
Head coach David Fizdale believes the sky is the limit for the 7-footer. His unique size, instincts, and potential have the head coach setting expectations high for Robinson.
“Timing, his natural dimensions of length and incredible athleticism. But he really has a timing and a technique that I don’t know if I’ve seen in a 20-year-old that sat out a year of basketball,” Fizdale said to Marc Berman of the New York Post on Saturday. “I don’t know if I’ve seen that before, to be that good at something. That’s very difficult. And to be able to do it in a way that saves possessions. He had two [Friday] night [against Denver] that he kept inbounds out of those blocks. … That’s just a real talent to be able to do that.
“The guy is uncanny how good he is at it. We were talking about it that if we get him to a place where he can really play into the 30-minute range I think he’s going to be one of those guys you have to consider for Defensive Player of the Year, because he’s going to rack up so many blocks and steals and deflections.”
It’s always tough to saddle young players with lofty expectations. It can come back to bite that player if he doesn’t live up to those expectations.
That being said, Fizdale is calling it as he sees it. He believes Robinson can become one of the best defensive players in the league and he has good reason to believe so.
Robinson is shattering Knicks rookie records previously held by Kristaps Porzingis and Patrick Ewing. Furthermore, he’s chasing David Robinson for second on the rookie list consecutive games with multiple blocks by a rookie.
The San Antonio Spur is second behind Manute Bol (45) with at least two blocks in 25 straight games. Mitchell Robinson is sitting on 22 straight games with multiple blocks and the Knicks have eight games left to play.