The Knicks may have sputtered at the start of Summer League, but Mitchell Robinson’s streak of providing joy continued unabated, and on Monday the Blockness Monster was named to the 2019 NBA Summer League First Team.
Robinson had no trouble reminding the world why he was one of the breakout rookies of last season, posting overall averages of 25.2 minutes, 13.8 points (29-34 from the field, or 85%), 10.6 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game. He led the Las Vegas Summer League in blocks, was tied for fourth overall in rebounds, and had the best field goal percentage of anyone who took at least 17 shots. He was 11-18 overall from the free throw line, which is roughly 61%, or 1% better than he shot from the stripe last season. Improvement!
Sophomore year’s lookin’ scary pic.twitter.com/HHVrj0oFv7— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) July 16, 2019
He’s joined on the Summer League First Team by a bunch of non-Knicks, including Jarrett Allen of the Brooklyn Nets. There are sure to be many takes this year as it pertains to which big man is better between those two. Both are quite good, and now each is a First Team guy.
The Knicks were betting favorites going into Summer League — mostly because the team’s starting lineup was filled with players who played most of last season on the big boy ‘Bockers, plus number three pick R.J. Barrett — and although New York botched the opening few games, they finished with two straight wins and an overall record of 2-3.
Unsurprisingly, Robinson was the shining light throughout. He started things off by welcoming Zion Williamson to the league with a bunch of blocks. And dunks. Robinson is really good at those two things. He had 8 points (3-4 shooting), 10 rebounds and 4 blocks in the opener against the Pelicans, which the Knicks lost 80-74.
It really, seriously, truly, doesn’t get better than this sequence of events:
Alley-oop ➡️ Block Zion ➡️ Fast break dunk— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 6, 2019
Mitchell Robinson takes no plays off pic.twitter.com/NOI3p9unl2
Two days later, the Knicks faced off against the Phoenix Suns. The Knicks lost in overtime, 105-100. Robinson had 17 points (7-8 shooting), 9 rebounds and 2 blocks. This is also the game where he put together 6 fouls in 30 minutes of actions. Luckily, you get 10 fouls in Summer League.
In the following game, an 85-73 loss to the Toronto Raptors, Mitch poured in 13 points (5-7 shooting), 14 rebounds and 3 blocks. He added 7 fouls. Perhaps he had learned from the previous game that he was able to foul as much as he wanted in pursuit of those precious swats.
After falling to the NBA Champion Raptors, the Knicks finally figured out some of their issues, and the next day the team put together a 117-96 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Robinson scored 13 points (5-5 shooting), and added 11 rebounds and 5 blocks. He also pulled out what has become his signature play: blocking a three-point shot. Players should really start to realize that they have to be careful launching treys when Mitch is on the court.
A savage on both ends of the floor pic.twitter.com/44IlHaunid— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) July 11, 2019
Finally, the Knicks concluded Summer League with a second straight victory, besting the Washington Wizards 103-87 in a consolation game. Robinson’s finale included 18 points (8-9 shooting), 9 rebounds and 3 blocks.
All in all, Summer League was just another highlight fest for Robinson, and his selection as a First Teamer is well deserved. The accolades keep on coming for the young center, and there’s no reason to think the accolade collection with cease anytime soon.
The only real disappointment is that Robinson didn’t make good on prior promises that he’s going to start launching threes soon. We didn’t see much from Mitch this summer that we hadn’t already seen last season, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He’s awesome at the things he already does.
Still, maybe there’s a chance he’ll bust out something new come the regular season. There was one play this summer where he started to take his guy off the dribble but was immediately fouled. It looked like he was about to cross his defender over and break some ankles before jumping from behind the free throw line and easily slamming it home. That’s just what it looked like was going to happen. We’ll never know for sure since Mitch got fouled.
Congrats, Mitch! We love you.