In the midst of his second NBA season, Mitchell Robinson has shown flashes of explosiveness that has Knicks fans excited about the 21-year-old's future.
You can include Taj Gibson among those fans, as well.
"A lot of players don't have a niche," Gibson told The Post on Friday. "A lot of them don't know where to start. A lot of guys just come in and think it's all about scoring and not defense. A lot of players are lost in the sauce with that. With Mitch, he already knows what he has to do. He's a starting center and all he has to do is grow. If he pushes himself like he's doing, he'll be an All-Star. He doesn't know how good he is."
Gibson signed with the Knicks this offseason and has served as a mentor to the young center as he continues to develop. This isn't the first time he's spoken about what Robinson can bring to the table.
"He has a lot more to offer than what you see. He's only scratched the surface," Gibson said in October. "He's real talented and athletic but he shows a lot more in practice. He can shoot the ball. He's a great shot-blocker. He has so much to offer. It's up to us to bring it out of him."
Robinson started the final seven games of last season at center for the Knicks, and was expected to be in that role this year. After missing the season opener with a sprained ankle, Robinson started six of the next seven games. After sitting out three more games with a concussion, he's settled into a bench role, which appears to suit the big man just fine.
"I like coming off the bench," Robinson said. "I feel comfortable coming off the bench. I can get into the game better. I get right into it. I came off the bench for 11 of 11. It works for me.''
Indeed, Robinson torched the Trail Blazers on Wednesday with 22 points on a perfect 11-for-11 shooting, equalling his career high that he set against the Hawks on Dec. 17. He's been experimenting with a three-point shot in shootarounds, but hasn't attempted any in a game yet.
"I'll continue to do what I do," Robinson said. "I can make layups. That's what it is. It's for later on down the line. I'm getting buckets that way. I'll continue to do that.''
Gibson, meanwhile, has started 26 of 32 games at center this year. But if Robinson continues to progress, he knows that might not last much longer.
That's just fine by him.
"It's his seat for whenever he's ready,'' Gibson said. "I'm happy he's taking the challenge of getting better every day in practice. And he's taking it serious every day in practice.''