Despite the fact that they failed to win the highly public Donovan Mitchell sweepstakes, New York Knicks have been quite a productive team this offseason.
No, they didn’t manage to acquire Mitchell (the Utah Jazz traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers on September 1) or execute any other blockbuster trades, but Leon Rose and company made key moves to position the Knicks for a possible playoff push.
Easily one of the team’s most notable transactions this offseason was re-signing 24-year-old big man Mitchell Robinson to a four-year, $60 million contract.
Proving to be a menacing presence down at the pivot throughout his four-year tenure in the association, Robinson is a difference-maker on both ends.
One of the league’s most ferocious rim protectors, the center has averaged 4.1 blocks per 100 possessions for his career while boasting per-game averages of 8.4 points and 7.5 rebounds on an astonishing 72.2% shooting clip from the field.
Arguably the only thing separating Robinson from being labeled one of the elite bigs in the league is his lack of 3-point shooting abilities.
In the modern NBA, floor spacing is everything, and while top-billed big men like Nikola Jokic, Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid have all proved themselves capable of knocking down long-range jumpers at a shooting clip north of 37% during their careers, the Knicks’ youngster has yet to even attempt a 3-pointer.
However, in a video posted August 23, it seems that Robinson is working on his shooting stroke heading into year five, displaying a tight form when hoisting them from the free-throw line, knocking down five straight shots before ending the video by saying “take that for data” to the camera.
In the comments section, Robinson left a message saying that he works on many different aspects of his game during the offseason, but he just doesn’t “show my [full workout.]”
Though he’s shooting only uncontested jumpers, seeing Robinson (who took only 28 of his 343 shot attempts outside the restricted area last season) working on his shooting form should be a welcomed sight for Knicks fans to see.
Robinson Broke Knicks’ ‘Curse’
By re-signing Robinson this offseason, the franchise broke a long-standing streak in the process.
Until the big man put pen to paper on his new four-year deal on July 1, former point guard Charlier Ward, who was selected 26th overall back in the 1994 draft, was the last player drafted by the Knicks to sign a second contract off their rookie deal, when he inked a $28 million contract in 1999.
During the 28 years since the 1994 draft, the franchise has taken on nearly 40 players who would become eligible for a second contract. Robinson and RJ Barrett, , whose contract was extended on August 29, have now joined Ward as the only rookie-scale Knicks players to be re-signed during this time span.
Toppin Working On His Game
Robinson isn’t the only Knicks youngster who has been grinding in the gym this summer, as a recently posted video went viral that showed third-year power forward Obi Toppin absolutely dominating on both ends of the court in a full-court scrimmage.
Posted to Instagram by NBA skills trainer Chris Brickley on September 8, the former lottery pick was seen throwing down thunderous dunks on offense and swatting copious shots on defense.
In Brickley’s caption, he shouted out the young power forward, citing his efficiency in 2021-22 despite limited action, and gave Knicks fans some hope for what could be to come in 2022-23.