Tag: David Fizdale

Mitchell Robinson’s potential in the NBA

After being named a McDonald All-American, being a former Western Kentucky commit, and a former 2ndround pick in the 2018 NBA draft, New York Knicks rookie Mitchell Robinson has had the time to shine in the NBA as of late by proving that he can be a dominant scorer and a future DPOY candidate in the league. 

Mitchell Robinson, at the age of 20 years old, had declared for the 2018 draft without gaining any experience in the collegiate level. He was ranked #11 (3rd best center) in his high school graduating class and originally committed to Western Kentucky University, as mentioned earlier. But Robinson decided to decommit from WKU to train for the upcoming draft that he was a part of.

This 20 year old that didn’t play in college had the talent of becoming a late lottery pick but was passed on by multiple teams in the draft as he was selected in the second round (36thpick) by the New York Knicks.

Before the 2018-19 NBA season started, New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale believed that Mitchell Robinson wasn’t quite ready to play in the NBA and wanted to give him more minutes and experience by having him play with the Westchester Knicks in the G-League.

Obviously that was not the case for Fizdale as he immediately put Robinson to work by starting him in his 4th game (teams 6th) against the reigning NBA champs, the Golden State Warriors. 

Robinson’s current stats in his rookie season are 5.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, and 0.5 apg. He also leads all rookies in blocks with 2.0 blocks per game.

Within the last week of NBA matchups, we have seen a different side of Robinson since the arrival of Dennis Smith Jr. and Deandre Jordan during the Kristaps Porzingis trade with the Dallas Mavericks.

The veteran presence of Deandre Jordan has helped shape Mitchell Robinson into the player that was once expected out of him since back in his high school days. 

“If you just go back to Mitchell’s last 4 games, there has been a big jump in what he’s doing out there and how he is doing it” – David Fizdale

Since acquiring Dennis Smith Jr. and Deandre Jordan, Mitchell Robinson has been averaging 11.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks within the last 4 games he’s played. This also included Robinson scoring his career high in points (15) in their last game against the Toronto Raptors and recorded 3 blocks in the last two games.

With this side of Mitchell Robinson during this time in the season, we can see his level improve with the help of Deandre Jordan by his side.

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Dennis Smith Jr. May Be A Diamond In The Rough For The Knicks

In Friday night’s loss vs the Pistons, Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. scored a career-high 31 points and dished out 8 assists to his new teammates.

Dennis isn’t missing a beat after being traded from the Mavericks during the trade deadline. Coach David Fizdale has placed his trust in the young guard and it is showing in his recent play as a Knick.

“I’m enjoying playing basketball not enjoying losing, but I’m having fun going out there and competing,” Dennis said after Pistons game.

In Dennis’ first 3 games as a Knick, he is averaging 21.3 points and 6.7 assists on 46% from the field. Dennis has shown that he is already the best player on this team and is connecting with his team.

On the other hand, Dennis still struggles with shooting the basketball as he misses free throws and is shooting below 30% from 3 so far with the Knicks.

If Dennis finds a consistent shooting stroke, the Knicks may not need Kyrie Irving in the summer. Shooting is the key factor that will elevate Dennis’ game.

The Knicks let go of some big pieces during the trade deadline, Kristaps Porzingis being the biggest loss, but Dennis is already showing the potential that he can grow into a star and be the best player on a team.

The Knicks are looking forward to the summer as the draft and free agency takes place. They must look at the possibilities if Zion Williamson, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving don’t land there. Do the Knicks believe that Dennis can be a big-time player for them?