Mitchell Robinson recently told Stefan Bondy on the New York Daily News that he thinks he could average around six blocks per game.
As crazy as it might sound, it's not out of the realm of possibility.
While only two players in NBA history have ever averaged even five blocks per game, the New York Knicks rookie is blocking shots at a prolific rate for a first-year player. Robinson currently ranks behind only Myles Turner and Anthony Davis with 2.3 blocks per game on the season, doing so in only 18.7 minutes per contest.
That works out to be 4.5 blocks per 36 minutes, the most in the league among rotational players by a large margin.
It's still not enough for him to come close to averaging the six he thinks he's capable of - Robinson would need a full 48 minutes based on the rate he's blocking shots this season - but there's reasons to believe that the 20-year-old can build on that number as he continues to develop.
The main one is Robinson is one of the more imposing big men in the league. Not only is he 7-foot-1 with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, he's incredibly agile and explosive.
You can see him put those physical tools together on plays like this, where he runs out to Houston Rockets sharpshooter Eric Gordon on the perimeter to prevent him from taking a 3-pointer and recovers in time to block his shot:
Robinson makes life difficult for everyone at the rim. Beyond the blocks, he's allowed opponents to shoot only 54.3 percent at the basket this season, an elite rate that puts him in the same company as Joel Embiid and Rudy Gobert.
Taking the 3-pointer wouldn't have necessarily been a safe option for Gordon, either. According to Nekias Duncan of Dime, Robinson leads all players in blocked 3-pointers this season despite playing limited minutes.
Even if he never becomes the type of big man who can comfortably guard every position on the floor à la Draymond Green, Robinson moves his feet well enough to hold his own against perimeter players on switches. Throw in his size and length, and you have one of the more unique defensive players we've seen in a long time.
The problem is Robinson has had trouble staying on the floor. To go along with those 4.5 blocks, he is averaging 6.1 fouls per 36 minutes, which also puts him near the top of the league among rotational players.
Robinson has a tendency to chase blocks, putting both himself and his teammates at risk of giving up easy points or fouls.
That is to be expected from someone as young and raw as him, though. Having sat out his one and only season of college basketball, he's already way ahead of the curve and has shown that he has the potential to be perhaps the biggest steal of the 2018 NBA Draft.
Whether or not that means he becomes the most dominant shot blocker the NBA has ever seen remains to be seen, but there's at least a path towards Robinson making history.
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