Despite what some offseason power rankings suggested, New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson is one of the best players at his position in the NBA. He has been able to make a major impact on games despite being limited in what he can do offensively.
Without any go-to post moves or range on his jumper, Robinson isn’t going to stuff the stat sheet scoring. But, he is an integral part of the team’s game plan on that side of the ball with his offensive rebounding talent.
Against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night, Robinson added five more offensive rebounds to his season total. That gives him 50 on the season, as he is lapping the field in the category in the early going. The second closest player in the NBA is Ausar Thompson of the Detroit Pistons with 34.
Robinson finished Wednesday’s game with 12 total rebounds and eight points as his presence was felt on both ends of the court. Where he makes his biggest impact for the Knicks, however, is defensively.
He had the difficult task of slowing down the young phenom, Victor Wembanyama. Before the game, Robinson made some comments that drew a lot of attention from analysts and people on social media. He downplayed the matchup, saying it was a mix of Kristaps Porzingis and Bol Bol and he had a feel for how things would go.
There are going to be a lot of people deleting comments, as Robinson backed up his talk with a stellar performance. When matched up against Wembanyama, Robinson held him to 0-for-6 shooting, including two air balls.
Given his ball-handling and skills on the perimeter, Wembanyama is a difficult mark for many big men. But, Robinson used his physicality and strength to move the rookie off his spots on offense, making him uncomfortable and forcing some difficult shots.
That kind of dominant performance is one that should get Robinson more national notice. He is moving up in the Defensive Player of the Year rankings and it is easy to see why. Shutting down a player as talented as Wembanyama is a tall task, but Robinson made it look easy on Wednesday night.
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