The New York Knicks have selected Mitchell Robinson in the 2018 NBA draft with the No. 36 overall pick.
After rising up the recruiting rankings, showing out at the McDonald's All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic, Robinson decided to skip his freshman year of college and the NBA Draft Combine. That turned him into one of the draft's wild cards.
Robinson is a high-upside prospect for his tools and athleticism, but he's a risky pick since no one has seen him perform in live game action since high school.
Weight: 223 pounds
Wingspan: 7'3 ½"
Pro-player comparison: Willie Cauley-Stein
Mitchell's offense is fueled by his combination of power, length and athleticism around the basket. He's a high-percentage finisher and threat to put back misses with tip dunks. An lob and pick-and-roll target and exciting weapon in transition, he can also score from tougher angles below the rim and inside the paint. He'll occasionally drift outside to show he can make jump shots, too. His jumper isn't a strength, but his release is fluid enough to create enough reasons for optimism down the road.
Robinson isn't fundamentally sound with the ball in his hands. He leans heavily on his strength and mobility, as he lacks polished moves, ball-handling skills and shooting touch. He's unlikely to be someone a team can feed the ball to against a set defense. He also has the tendency to take shots away from the basket that are outside of his comfort zone.
Robinson has the tools and bounce to become a serious shot-blocker. The question revolves around his defensive IQ when it comes to playing team defense, rotations and switching. Having received no high-level coaching, how long will it take for him to catch on? Will he be quick enough laterally to slide his feet around the perimeter? Will he play with intensity?
Having sat out last season, it's unreasonable to think he'll be able to step right into an NBA game. It would make sense for him to spend time in the G League, familiarizing himself with five-on-five play again. He's physically and athletically ready to finish around the basket, but the same goes for whichever veterans play in front of him. Coaches won't feel any need to rush Robinson's development.
Projected role: Starter
The draw to Robinson is long-term upside once he's spent a few years in the league. He has the chance to be dominant around the rim and emulate a center like DeAndre Jordan by finishing, rebounding and blocking shots. His ceiling rises even higher if he develops into a sharper post scorer or mid-range shooter.