The first half of the season didn’t exactly go as planned for the Knicks, but the revelation of Mitchell Robinson and his ridiculous dunking and blocking abilities has provided some semblance of hope for the future, and the NBA should have made him a last minute addition to All-Star Weekend.
Before you lambast the idea as ludicrous, remember that back in 2012, less than a week before All-Star Weekend began, the NBA made Jeremy Lin a special addition to the Rising Stars game. Thus, there is precedent. Granted, Robinson may not be quite the international sensation that Lin was, but his story — he’s a 20-year-old 2nd round draft pick who was selected 36th overall after forgoing college and taking a year off of playing organized basketball — would have been of interest to fans.
Meanwhile, his recent play clearly deserves to be honored, and quite frankly, leaving him out of All-Star Weekend in its entirety is a disservice to NBA fans everywhere.
In his last six games, Robinson is averaging 11.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3 blocks per contest, and in the 14 games since he returned from a groin strain he’s posted 9.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game.
His 2.12 blocks per game on the season is good for fourth in the NBA, and the 89 total shots Robinson has swatted lands him 11th overall in the league and number one among rookies, which is pretty impressive for a guy who has missed 15 games.
Courtesy of our friends @bball_ref.— Tommy Dee (@ThomasCDee) February 14, 2019
Mitchell Robinson's 9.9% block rate is 2nd all-time (RIP Manute Bol) for rookies who play enough minutes to qualify.
That is a big deal. #Knicks #NBA pic.twitter.com/MVLQ7ogqpP
“Can Anyone Stop Harden’s stepback?” Mitchell Robinson can pic.twitter.com/PFjdnKCY4C— Harun (@HarunAli30) February 9, 2019
One time, Robinson had nine blocks in a single game, and just the other night he stuffed Joel Embiid with such ease that Embiid couldn’t help but express awe at the sheer length of Robinson’s “long-ass arms.”
Joel Embiid on the Mitchell Robinson experience:— Posting and Toasting (@ptknicksblog) February 14, 2019
"A couple times I thought I had a shot, but he just came up with his long-ass arms and blocked it"
Overall, Robinson has made 112 of the 161 field goals he’s taken this season — good for almost 70 percent — and 66 of those made baskets came in the form of monstrous dunks that, if performed during All-Star Weekend, would have caused the crowd in Charlotte to collectively faint. The guy really knows how to throw down a dunk.
Speaking of knowing how to throw down a dunk, earlier in the season Robinson admitted that he’d love to participate in the dunk contest, so as long as we’re talking about how the NBA should have added him to the Rising Stars game, we should also point out that the league is remiss for having failed to let him compete against new teammate Dennis Smith Jr. in the Dunk Contest. You’re telling me the NBA didn’t want fans to get a taste of yummy jams like these on Saturday night?
Kinda mad Mitchell Robinson didn't one-hand dunk this, tbh pic.twitter.com/SlfUi3Od0M— Reid Goldsmith (@reidgoldsmith) February 14, 2019
The Mitchell Robinson Show is the hottest ticket in town!pic.twitter.com/Ug09L67OVf— 365 Knicks (@365Knicks) February 6, 2019
While the league erred this year in not choosing to include Robinson in any of the events of All-Star Weekend, there is always next year, when Robinson should be a shoo-in for the Rising Stars game, especially if he continues to improve at the rate he’s been improving recently. If the NBA is smart, Robinson will also be given the opportunity next year to try and cement himself as one of the league’s best dunkers, which he is.
This time around, Robinson gets to relax during the All-Star break, but hopefully in the future he’ll become a perennial participant in the festivities. If his rookie season is any indication, the ceiling is truly the roof for Robinson.