In the recent NBA Draft, there were many players who made headlines, understandably stealing the spotlight from some of the lesser known prospects in the draft. Between DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Trae Young, and many others, there wasn’t much attention given to the guys at the bottom of the first round and beyond.
But as the NBA Summer League gained steam in Las Vegas, some new faces began to make some noise of their own, forcing their names into the mouths of NBA analysts. One of these players is Mitchell Robinson, who was drafted by the Knicks in the second round with the 36th overall pick in the draft. Mitchell was an intriguing prospect, as he had a great deal of potential, despite never truly playing college ball. Unfortunately, without much (or any) game tape of him playing at a highly competitive level, many teams were wary of taking a chance on him.
When the Knicks finally invested a second round pick on Mitchell, they surely didn’t expect him to put on the show that he did in the Summer League. His numbers were certainly eye-opening, averaging 13.0 points and 10.2 rebounds per game across his five appearances. He achieved those numbers while playing under 25 minutes per outing. The young center took high percentage shots, which resulted in a 66.7 percent shooting percentage. He also displayed his defensive prowess, setting a record with 4.0 blocks per game.
Mitchell is already beginning to garner the attention he seems to deserve. Nobody could have known that he would play as well as he did prior to the NBA Draft. Not only did he not play college basketball, but he also withdrew from his invitation to the combine at the last moment. The lack of exposure limited his draft stock, and caused his value to drop on draft day.
Enter the Knicks, who wisely saw through all of the nonsense that led Mitchell to fall into the second round. Now they are the smart ones, who have what appears to be a stud who was drafted at a bargain price. Of course, it is still way too soon to declare Mitchell a success. But he was more impressive than anyone could have given him credit for.
Mitchell was one of the best players in the entire Summer League this year. If the NBA Draft were to take place today, he would almost certainly be a top ten selection. But that is not the case, and the Knicks appear to have benefited from his lack of attention. They were able to use their first round pick (ninth overall) on Kevin Knox, while later picking up Mitchel in the second round. Hopefully both become major contributors in the very near future when their rookie season officially gets underway.