The NBA playoffs are almost at their conclusion, which of course means that we’re in NBA superlatives season, where all of the “All-Whatever” teams and awards get announced.
The Knicks, being a 17-65 team, really didn’t have a lot to look forward to during NBA awards season except for the All-Rookie nominations. Luckily, the results (mostly) didn’t disappoint:
Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson has been named to the NBA’s second All-Rookie team.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) May 21, 2019
That’s right! Mitchell Robinson was rewarded for his stellar play this year by a nod from NBA writers as one of the 10 best rookies in the league this year. Mitch finished behind Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Deandre Ayton, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Marvin Bagley III for first-team honors, and behind Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Collin Sexton and Landry Shamet on the second team in voting.
Not too shabby for a second-round pick that didn’t play organized basketball last year! The Blockness Monster blocked nearly twice as many shots (161) as the next-best rookie, Jackson (82), combined with his ridiculous efficiency and lob ability on offense (he shot 69.4 percent from the field this year, which would have led the league if he had met the playing time minimums).
Mitch is happy about winning this award, and therefore I am happy as well:
“It feels great,” he said, per the Knicks. “I was the 36th pick [in the 2018 NBA Draft]. My hard work paid off. The Knicks believe in me and have helped me become a better player.”
Of course, Knicks fans might notice two names that were conspicuously absent from the first and second teams: 2018 No. 9 pick Kevin Knox and undrafted Allonzo Trier.
Mitchell Robinson received 3 votes for first team All Rookie. Fellow Knicks Kevin Knox (22 votes for the second team) and Allonzo Trier (10 second-team votes) also received votes. Brooklyn’s Rodions Kurucs had 10 second-team votes: pic.twitter.com/e1D4rYcgKU— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) May 21, 2019
Knox finished 12th overall in voting, with Trier coming in tied for 14th with Dallas’ Jalen Brunson. Knox, if we’re being honest, really didn’t have a case to make it over anyone else that made the All-Rookie squads. His counting stats of 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game look fine on paper, but his 37 percent shooting from the floor and his defense were both pretty ghastly. And that’s fine! He’s only 19 years old and needs some time to fine-tune his game, and there were certainly flashes of a good player.
Trier, though... you could make a real case for him as a second-teamer. Take Trier vs. Shamet, for example, both of whom averaged 22.8 minutes per game:
Trier: 10.9 points/3.1 rebounds/1.9 assists per game, .448/.394/.803 shooting splits
Shamet: 9.1 points/1.7 rebounds/1.5 assists per game, .431/.422/.806 shooting splits
Seems like it should’ve at least been a little closer of a call for Trier, right? It probably came down to the fact that the Clippers were a surprise playoff team and the Knicks weren’t, combined with Shamet playing in 15 more games.
Hey, it’s alright though. Knowing Iso Zo, it will just be another chip on his shoulder.
Ahhh hell no— Allonzo Trier (@ISO_ZO) May 21, 2019
Was it?— Allonzo Trier (@ISO_ZO) May 21, 2019
Zo did take the time to congratulate his fellow Knick though:
@23savage____ 2nd team all rookie— Allonzo Trier (@ISO_ZO) May 21, 2019
So, hey, at least the Knicks walked away with some hardware this offseason! Not that that means anything, considering the Knicks have had a player selected to an All-Rookie team in seven of the last nine seasons. Luckily, Mitchell Robinson seems like arguably the best one of them all, so hopefully he’s a Knick for a long time.