RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Thomas RobinsonPosted by dnspewak on June 27th, 2012
The NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 28, in Newark, New Jersey. As we have done for the last several years, RTC’s team of writers (including Andrew Murawa, Kevin Doyle, Evan Jacoby, Matt Patton, and Danny Spewak) will provide comprehensive breakdowns of each of the 35 collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll generally work backwards, so for the next week or two we’ll present you with players who are projected near the end of the first round, and we’ll work our way up into the lottery as June progresses. As an added bonus, we’ll also bring you a scouting take from NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith at the bottom of each player evaluation.
Note: Click here for all published 2012 NBA Draft profiles.
Player Name: Thomas Robinson
Height/Weight: 6’9”, 245 pounds
NBA Position: Power Forward
Projected Draft Range: High Lottery
Overview: After spending two years as a reserve to the Morris twins at Kansas, Thomas Robinson grew into a Player of the Year candidate and one of Bill Self’s most coveted NBA prospects ever in his junior season. With a motor that never seems to quit and the strength of an NFL defensive end, Robinson bullied his way through elite big man after elite big man. He became a double-double machine in 2011-12, not infrequently finishing with over 17 rebounds in a game and blowing up for 25+ points on more than one occasion. Although his team featured elite point guard Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson, and a few other key contributors, Self’s team wasn’t very deep and it relied heavily on its horse. Robinson didn’t disappoint, carrying the Jayhawks all the way to the National Championship game. By the time it was all over, Robinson turned in one of the finest performances of any player in college basketball. On the season, he averaged 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds per game, clearly defining himself as the nation’s toughest, most rugged and most feared power forward. Off the court, his tragic personal life has been well-documented by nearly every major media outlet. So when Robinson left school a year early, it was hard to criticize him after the loss of his mother and grandparents — especially with a young sister to care for and support.
Will Translate to the NBA: Robinson has an NBA body and NBA strength. He ran a terrific three-quarter court sprint time at the combine and bench pressed 15 reps of 185 pounds. In comparison, his teammate Taylor couldn’t lift 185 even a single time (to be fair neither could Kevin Durant five years ago). Robinson is lean, muscular and extremely athletic, and he fits in from a physical standpoint in this league right away. Although he is a polished back-to-the-basket scorer, Robinson also isn’t one-dimensional, which will help him in the pros. He can step away and shoot it from mid-range, and he’s also adept at crashing the offensive glass and finding ways to “take out the garbage,” so to speak. He’s the trash man — he’ll grab your missed shots and outwork the opponent to find a way to score. Robinson may not be a seven-footer, but he should also grow into one of the NBA’s top rebounders once he acclimates himself to the physicality of the league.
Needs Work: Robinson isn’t much of a three-point shooter although he did make a few of his attempts in 2011-12. Other than that, though, it’s hard to find a weakness here. That’s why Robinson is considered by many to be the likely second pick in the NBA Draft. He isn’t the same kind of defensive stopper that Davis is as he doesn’t change the game with his shot-blocking ability, but he is still a strong post defender and has the quickness to match up with a lot of different offensive players.
Comparison Players: Robinson is unique, possessing perhaps the best “NBA body” of any prospect but standing at just under 6’9″. His physique looks like Al Horford but his game resembles that of Paul Millsap, another productive college forward and dominant rebounder who has put together a terrific NBA career as an efficient forward. But Robinson is more athletic, stronger, and faster than Millsap while perhaps a bit less skilled in terms of perimeter shooting and passing. Think of him as an above-the-rim version of Millsap.
Best Case Scenario: There’s no question that Robinson will become a good NBA player, willing to work hard every play while displaying elite athletic traits. He’s mentally and physically as strong as anybody in this draft. But the question is whether he has the upside to become a star in the league, as he’s undersized, already 21 years old, and struggled against long defenders while not showing as many all-around skills as some other versatile forwards. Should Robinson improve the consistency on his shot and develop additional offensive looks in the post, then he can really thrive as a potential All-Star. He’s not a guy you ever want to count out as he has overcome adversity at all stages of his life both on and off the court. Count on Robinson to be a productive rotation player at worst, but an efficient double-double machine at best if he can add some more facets to his game.
Best NBA Fit: Anywhere. He and Anthony Davis are the two players in this draft who can probably make their games work for any team in the NBA. Robinson is NBA ready to contribute right now and will give 110% effort in the process. A specific best fit is a team with good size at the center position so that Robinson doesn’t need to fulfill a rim protector role being just 6’8.5″. The Charlotte Bobcats at #2 could use his work ethic and immediate production, plus they just used a lottery pick on shot blocker Bismack Biyombo. The Washington Wizards at #3 have a legitimate center in Nene and need leaders and efficient players like Robinson so that’s another perfect fit.
Scout’s Take (from NBADraft.net): “Robinson shocked people with his added face the basket skills. If Charlotte holds onto their pick, he appears to be the odds on favorite to go 2nd overall.”
*This post was contributed by RTC’s Danny Spewak and Evan Jacoby.