MILWAUKEE — Mitchell Robinson is happy his buddy Kenny Wooten officially signed a two-year, two-way G-League contract Tuesday, but the Knicks center has lost the honor of being the team’s top leaper.
“I’m very excited,’’ said Robinson, who played with Wooten on the Knicks’ summer league team last July. “He put in the work and time. He deserves what he got. I’m very proud of him.
“He jumps higher than me actually,’’ Robinson added before scoring seven points and grabbing three rebounds in the Knicks’ 128-102 blowout loss tot he Bucks. “Yeah, he can jump a little higher than me. We play alike — both athletic, block shots. We do a lot of things the same.’’
After standing out at summer league, Wooten, a defensive-oriented forward undrafted out of Oregon, was invited to training camp, but an ankle injury prevented him from getting into any exhibition games.
The 22-year-old became a highlight show with the Westchester Knicks, even getting on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays. He averaged 7.7 points on 66 percent shooting, with 5.9 rebounds and 3.4 blocks.
“Just the athleticism and the energy and the force that he plays with,’’ Knicks interim coach Mike Miller said of Wooten’s best traits. “He has all of those physical tools. He’s jumped so far. From summer league to training camp he’s really improved. And he’s really improved now. I’ve watched two of the Westchester games in the last three weeks and I’m seeing improvement there. He’s really seeing things. He’s really learning the game. That’s what he needs to do. He has those physical tools and now he needs the experience.”
Wooten’s injury-marred training camp prevented him from earning the two-way contract when an agreement with Kris Wilkes fell through.
Before the season opener, the Knicks instead inked a former David Fizdale player from Memphis, Ivan Rabb, who was cut to allow Wooten this chance. Players who sign two-way deals at the Jan. 15 deadline can be on the squad 25 days, with the clock stopping after the G-League finale.
Indeed, Wooten’s impact may not be felt until later in the season. Miller said he’s not sure if Wooten will practice Wednesday and be active Thursday against Phoenix.
“We’ll sit down [Wednesday] and talk about a short-term and long-term plan for what we’re going to do with him,’’ Miller said.
According to an NBA scout, the concern with Wooten is whether he will be able to find a position in the NBA at 6-foot-8. He has been a power forward in college and the G-League but may have to play small forward in the NBA. Wooten has improved his jumper from the top of the key, the scout said.
PG Frank Ntilikina (groin strain) missed his second straight game. A groin strain cost him much of the second part of last season. Marcus Morris missed his fifth straight game with a neck injury and didn’t travel here.
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