Thomas Robinson – PF – 6’9, 244 lbs.
In the lead up to the Final Four meeting between Kansas and Ohio State, much of the talk focused on one match up: Thomas Robinson versus Jared Sullinger. Robinson’s 19-point, eight-rebound performance confirmed what many NBA talent evaluators had believed throughout the season — It wasn’t close; Thomas Robinson is the real deal.
NBA superstars share something in common with their predecessors, and that’s unbridled confidence. For his part, Robinson believes he should be the No. 1 pick in the draft — blasphemy to anyone who saw Anthony Davis destroy the competition during his time in Lexington. Robinson made his case to Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick at the NBA pre-draft camp in Chicago earlier this month:
“If you wanted to check the stats, then I’d be the No. 1 pick easily — if that’s what you want to do,” he said. “I should get one of those shirts. I’ll get a shirt that says, ‘Numbers don’t lie.’”
The D.C native is right, technically. Robinson averaged 17.7 points, 11.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game in his junior season, eclipsing Davis’ numbers. With that said, it’s hard to determine whether Robinson’s game will translate to the NBA. For example, Draft Express has Al Horford as their best case scenario for the former Jayhawk and Reggie Evans as the worst. That’s a pretty big gap.
Robinson doesn’t have a go-to move offensively, instead relying on excellent instincts and a scary 7-foot-1 wingspan. It’s one thing to rely on those traits in college, where the competition varies from game to game, but the chances Robinson will be able to get by on his physical tools alone in the NBA aren’t high.
On the positive side, Robinson was the hardest worker in college basketball last season. His knack for hitting the glass and doing just about everything Bill Self asked will certainly intrigue NBA coaches who’ve dealt with the DeMarcus Cousinses and Nick Youngs of the world. The mixture of Robinson’s tenacity in all facets of the game combined with his excellent physical tools makes him one of the safer bets in this year’s draft. Plus, questions about whether he was big enough to play power forward in the NBA were answered recently, with Chad Ford of ESPN writing that “Robinson’s measurements strongly helped his cause as an NBA 4 man.”
Robinson is the most commonly pegged prospect at No. 2 to Charlotte, but he also belongs to a group (including Bradley Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Harrison Barnes and Andre Drummond) that could go anywhere between Nos. 2 and 6. Don’t screw this up Charlotte.