Mitchell Robinson: A Testament to Patience and Development in the Modern NBA

Omar Zahran
6 min readNov 29, 2023

Mitchell Robinson’s journey from an unrefined prospect to one of the NBA’s most dominant rebounders is a testament to the power of perseverance and patience in a league often defined by instant gratification

The NBA Draft is one of the biggest crap shoots that we have in sports today. The league has shifted in recent years to draft young 19 year old prospects with the potential to be the next superstar in the league. We have seen this manifest as intended with a player like Anthony Edwards, where a 19 year old is drafted and lives up to the potential a few years later. This is not always the case, especially in today’s climate that is defined by instant gratification and impatience.

NBA decision makers as a result demand instant success from young players, which feels a bit contradictory. It is very rare to see true development stories in the NBA, especially not ones with the same team that drafted them. This is what makes the progression and evolution of New York Knicks starting center Mitchell Robinson so unique and fascinating. Once a relative unknown from Chalmette, Louisiana and second round pick by the Knicks in 2018, Robinson has transformed himself into a defensive and rebounding force that is a testament to staying the course and hard work.

Growing Pains

For most Knicks fans, the 2018 NBA Draft will be remembered more about who they didn’t draft as opposed to who they did. In the first round of that draft, the Knicks had the 9th overall pick and selected Kentucky swingman Kevin Knox. Knox was a player that hit all of the measurables that people want in the modern NBA; he was 6’7”, long, and could shoot the three at a decent level. Knox seemed like a decent enough prospect at the time, but in hindsight it is a draft blunder as the team passed up both Mikal Bridges and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to take Knox. Gilgeous-Alexander and Bridges have turned into stars while Knox is now on his 4th team and second stint as a rotation player with the Detroit Pistons.