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Mitchell Robinson’s defense shines for Knicks

Mitchell Robinson, selected by the Knicks in the

Mitchell Robinson, selected by the Knicks in the second round (36th overall) of the 2018 NBA Draft, speaks with the media during his introductory news conference at Madison Square Garden Training Center in Greenburgh, NY on June 22. Credit: James Escher

LAS VEGAS — Knicks second-round pick Mitchell Robinson’s first competitive game in more than a year raised eyebrows and probably the hopes of a fan base.

The 7-1 Robinson covered a lot of ground defensively in the Knicks’ 91-89 win over Atlanta in their Summer League opener. Even when he made a mistake, his length and quickness allowed him to recover quickly.

Robinson, the No. 36 pick, had four blocks and altered numerous others. He was credited with only one steal but knocked away a few other balls.

“He’s blocking everything down in the paint,” fellow rookie Kevin Knox said. “He’s going to swat at everything. He’s going to contest every shot. You can see he’s a freak athlete.”

Robinson had nine points and eight rebounds. He could have gotten a few more easy baskets or dunks if the Knicks had made sharper, crisper passes to him inside.

He was projected to be a late lottery pick and definite first-round choice going into his freshman season at Western Kentucky, but Robinson dropped out and fell — right into the Knicks’ laps.

Robinson is raw, but the Knicks believe they can mold him into a Clint Capela type of player who excels on pick-and-rolls, dunks off lobs and controls the paint with his defense.

“He’s going to keep getting better and better,” Knox said. “This is his first game in a year. He looked pretty well. He’s going to keep getting better every game.”

High on Trier

David Fizdale called former Arizona guard Allonzo Trier an “assassin” and compared him to high-scoring guard Lou Williams, a two-time Sixth Man of the Year.

“He knows one thing, and that’s get buckets,” Fizdale said.

But Trier, who started and was 5-for-12 with 15 points, will have to prove himself in the G League. He signed a two-way deal, so Trier can spend only 45 days with the Knicks. But after going undrafted, he’s driven to show he should be in the NBA.

“It was absolutely shocking,” Trier said. “I definitely believe I belong in this league and I can play and I’m as good as all these guys who were drafted.”

Fast breaks

Troy Williams, who could be playing for his job in the Summer League and training camp, had a strong showing. He was 7-for-12 and scored 17 points. Williams’ contract is partially guaranteed. Depending on other moves, the Knicks could be looking to waive a player . . . Luke Kornet (hamstring) and Isaiah Hicks (strained groin) were unable to play.


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