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Mitchell Robinson’s ongoing injury problems mean the New York Knicks should look at drafting a center next week.

Josh Benjamin

The New York Knicks might be smart to draft a center in next week’s 2021 NBA Draft.

Don’t get me wrong. Mitchell Robinson played well in extended minutes last year and has loads of potential. The problem, of course, is his health. He’s never played a full season and, most recently, was limited to 31 games thanks to hand and foot injuries.

Not to mention, suppose Robinson is moved in a trade for Damian Lillard? Furthermore, Nerlens Noel played well in Robinson’s absence and led the league in defensive box plus/minus (DBPM).

This year’s NBA Draft doesn’t offer much in terms of bigs, but a select few set themselves apart. If the New York Knicks can land any of them, it’d indeed be a shrewd move by Leon Rose and Scott Perry.

No. 5: Jericho Sims, Texas

Sims has an NBA body at 6-foot-10, 245 pounds, and is ready for the pros after four years with the Longhorns. He takes good care of the ball and has quick footwork for his size, which aids his strong face-up game under the basket. His low post game is nonexistent but if Tom Thibodeau is patient with him, Jericho Sims could prove a good fit for the New York Knicks.

No. 4: Alperen Sengun, Bešiktaš, Turkey

At just 18 years old, Sengun still has lots of developing to do as a pro. Yet, playing for Bešiktaš in his native Turkey, he flashed upside that speaks to his potential. In 34 games, Sengun posted 18.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.

It’s unclear how well Sengun would fit with the New York Knicks, particularly since he’s so young and Thibodeau is a demanding coach. He’s not a first-round pick, but Rose and Perry should certainly consider him in Round 2.

No. 3: Kai Jones, Texas

Jones is a spindly 6-foot-11, 218 pounds, but his upside could be too much to turn down if he’s available when the Knicks pick. He wasn’t particularly dominant in two years with the Longhorns, but still has NBA length and performs well on both ends of the floor.

Jones will need lots of patience, and he wouldn’t play significant minutes with the New York Knicks. Yet, with his strong work ethic and determined motor, Thibodeau might be too impressed to just let him sit.

No. 2: Charles Bassey, Western Kentucky

Put the Incredible Hulk and the Black Panther together, and chances are the result will be Charles Bassey. He has an NBA body at 6-foot-11, 235 pounds, and averaged 17.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks for the Hilltoppers last season. Bassey also does a good job of protecting the ball and doesn’t draw many fouls.

That said, Bassey was an offensive force in college and his defense often took a back seat. Playing for the New York Knicks, he would need to reverse that approach pretty quickly. But with his ability to stretch the floor, he could also be a nice boost off the bench.

No. 1: Isaiah Jackson, Kentucky

The New York Knicks have deep ties to Kentucky, namely assistant coach Kenny Payne, so you know Jackson is already on the team’s NBA Draft shortlist. And make no mistake, Jackson and the Knicks pair together better than a slice from Ray’s and a large diabetes-inducing sugary grape drink.

He has the height at 6-foot-10, the wingspan at 7-foot-2, and is an absolute defensive monster who posted a DBPM of 6.0 for the Wildcats last year. If he can hit the weight room and keep improving his low post game, Jackson could soon become a New York favorite.