With the NBA trade deadline looming this week, trade season is officially under way. And if rumors are to be believed, the Pistons reportedly have interest in Mitchell Robinson. The big man on the Knicks has garnered a lot of attention throughout the league. And it’s easy to see why. Robinson is a 7 foot big man from Western Kentucky that has had a really productive NBA career so far. Robinson is a career 8 point per game scorer that also averages 8.7 rebounds per game. His rim running ability is elite, and he has great instincts with cutting to the basket. And every time he gets to the cup, you’re going to have a hard time stopping him. There are a lot of things that you can see in his game that would translate easily on the Pistons. However, should Detroit make the trade?
The pros of trading for Mitchell Robinson
Mitchell Robinson is such a fascinating concept for the Pistons to pursue. Not only because he has a long career ahead of him, but also because of the needs he would fill now. The fit near star guard Cade Cunningham would most certainly be obvious. His ability to roll to the basket is something that would improve the Pistons offensively right away. Isaiah Stewart has shown flashes of being able to score in the post. However, Robinson has certain intangibles that make him much more of a threat in the post. His athleticism and his height are far greater than Stewart’s, and his offensive game appears to be better all around.
In addition, Mitchell Robinson has shown flashes of being a great rim protector. In his first season in the league, Robinson averaged 2.4 blocks per game. That number is currently down to 1.6 blocks per game, but those are still excellent numbers. He would immediately improve our interior defense, and he can guard multiple positions as well. His attention to detail on the defensive end is perhaps what would make the biggest impact on the Pistons right away. It would also allow the Pistons to even bring Stewart off the bench if they keep him after the deal as well. And that is a position that Stewart thrived in his rookie year.
Jan 17, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) dunks in the third quarter against the Charlotte Hornets at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
That sounds great. What’s the cons? What’s his price?
One thing to consider whenever trading for a young player, is that you will eventually need to pay them. And that day would come very quickly with Mitchell Robinson. Robinson is going to be a free agent after this season. And there is the possibility that he comes to Detroit and chooses to go elsewhere, as he will be an unrestricted free agent. And yes, the Pistons can trade other pieces and clear room for him. They can bring him in the fold and sell him on the future here. However, why not wait until the summer, when he is an unrestricted free agent, and make an offer when you don’t have to give up anything in return?
In addition, Robinson’s salary at this present time is pretty low. However, it is unclear what those assets would be the Knicks want in return. Although the Knicks would probably be happy to swap for the services of Jerami Grant in a trade with Robinson, they would have to give more than Robinson. Other players like Obi Toppin would potentially have to be involved to make that deal work. And there’s no indication that the Pistons have much interest in making that deal happen. Players like Cory Joseph or Josh Jackson’s expiring contract could also be dealt to the Knicks. However, the Pistons would possibly have to involve some form of draft compensation as well. And again, if the player can be acquired for potentially nothing in a few short months.
Troy Weaver has a decision to make
Mitchell Robinson is absolutely a player that the Pistons should have their eyes on. However, Troy Weaver is going to have to decide what is worth giving up in pursuit of Robinson. If he sees enough upside in the big, then there might not be much of a limit to what Weaver would do. Also, there might be hesitation to make the trade due to the fact that Detroit could acquire a big man of the future with their top three pick in this year’s draft. If Robinson is not on the team by the end of Thursday’s deadline, that does not mean he won’t be on the team in the future. And with the phones ringing about Jerami Grant, Weaver might have other concerns. However, my gut tells me that Troy Weaver is going to do something this deadline. And it very well could involve the big in New York.
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Featured image credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports