Knicks’ DeAndre Jordan enjoys playing mentor for Mitchell Robinson
The acquisition of DeAndre Jordan has served as more than just a new starting center for the New York Knicks, but also as a veteran mentor to take young rookie Mitchell Robinson under his wing. Jordan, 30, knows the value in helping others grow, only paying it forward.
“Anytime you can help another player out, I’m learning that’s the beauty of our league,” Jordan said, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I had a lot of veteran guys who taught me things. It would be a disservice to them if I didn’t help other guys out.’’
Mitchell has slowly learned to keep himself in the game, having shown he’s prone to fouling during the NBA’s Summer League and early in the season. Head coach David Fizdale said he’s “feeling a little more patient” now, while having the best stretch of his young career in the last three games, averaging 13.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks this past week.
“Getting him to understand how to use his voice — that’s a big one,’’ Fizdale said after Saturday’s razor-close loss Saturday to Toronto. “Mitchell was a quiet guy by nature. He’s getting him to bark and playing him in a stance more.”
Jordan is helping Robinson be “more disciplined at the rim at being patient for his blocks and not chasing every little thing” and “to get rebounds out of his area” — two things the veteran center has mastered over his 11 seasons in the league.
Jordan is also encouraging Robinson “to study the game film and understand your opponent’s tendencies,” according to Fizdale — something he has had to learn to pick up in the pro game after not attending college.
Fizdale’s project of building this roster through young legs will only go as far as the veteran mentorship around them. It seems that has now gotten started with Jordan.