In order for Mitchell Robinson to take the next step as defender of the whole NBA, he has to go from a simple blocker to a defensive anchor. One area of improvement is his post 1v1 defense.
Contrary to public perception, post-up offense is still an integral aspect of a basketball player’s repertoire. All the great elite men – including Joel Embiid, Karl Anthony Towns and Nikola Jokic, just to name a few – use an excellent post-up game not only to score, but to create easier-to-score opportunities for their teammates. team. The key principles of being an excellent post-up defender include lower body strength, correct positioning and skillful footwork.
During the 2019-20 season, the opposing players did not often target Mitch in the post-up, but he (Mitch) was not effective enough in defending the position. Mitch allowed his opponents to pull 44.1% off the post, which probably doesn’t seem too high. However, Anthony Davis only allows opponents to shoot from 18.2% from the post. Factoring out superstar, Mitch’s opponent FG% seems embarrassingly high compared to guys like DeAndre Jordan (22.2%), Mo Bamba (27.8%), Ivica Zubac (28.2%) and Davis Bertans (35, 5%). To add insult to injury, both Kevin Knox and Julius Randle have a lower FG% in the post than Mitch.
Along with its high foul rate, Mitch’s 35% FT frequency rate – the percentage of play that a player throws free throws due to a foul – is actually the worst of all the great qualified men. Likewise, Karl-Anthony Towns allows opponents to pull 42.1% from the post, but his FT frequency rate is 14%.
Surely, the opposing teams will target Mitch in the mail while receiving more minutes. It will be up to Thibs to help Mitch improve his footwork and positioning to reduce the effectiveness of post-up games. The Knicks are one of the worst teams in the league for fouls and attempts by FT opponents. Mitch’s improvement in the post will do much to improve the team’s internal defense. Thibs’ coaching experience for both Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson will be helpful here.