‘A Major Step Up’? Why The Wiz Should Want Thomas Robinson

Here to encourage the Wizards to draft Thomas Robinson (pictured) is Kansas blog Rock Chalk Talk’s Steve Fetch.

After Anthony Davis, the next three NBA draft prospects are no doubt Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal and the man who would be the right choice for the Wizards, Thomas Robinson. All three of those players have warts, but Robinson has the fewest of them, and he’s also done something that the other two haven’t done: dominate college basketball.

While it’s true that the Wizards have a bit of a logjam at the power forward spot, Nene is a tradable asset and Robinson is worth shifting the rest of the logjam around to accommodate him. The Wizards were tied for the seventh-worst team in the NBA last year (going by points per possession), and Robinson is a major step up from their current personnel. His best attribute, however, is his rebounding.

Robinson was the best defensive rebounder in college basketball. For the fifth-worst defensive rebounding team in the league, this should be music to their ears. He won’t make them a very good defensive team like Davis would, and he’s also probably not as valuable defensively as Kidd-Gilchrist, but he will take them to an above-average rebounding team and that in and of itself will help make them at least average defensively.

I hate using comps to project players because they’re all lazy, and that has been especially true with Robinson. Because of his prodigious rebounding gifts he has been mostly compared to Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, but Robinson has shown much more offensive talent. His usage rate last year at Kansas was a sky-high 29.7 percent, and while he’s struggled with double teams, he was virtually unstoppable one-on-one in the post. Robinson’s main problem offensively is when he tries to do a bit more than he’s capable of.

He needs to refine his jumper a bit and he’ll try to show off his skill in the post rather than using his strength to go through people, but he’s gone from a 40-percent free throw shooter to a 50-percent free throw shooter to almost a 70-percent free throw shooter, so I think his jumper will improve with more coaching. Once it does, he’ll get even better at facing people up than he already is (his ball handling is good but he’s not quite explosive enough to get by guys on his first step alone.)

As I mentioned, Robinson struggled against double teams this year and he’s also struggled with decision making. I doubt, however, that he will see many double teams in the NBA, and the rest of his game will translate very well. Although he wouldn’t look out of place as a tight end somewhere, he’s a bit less athletic than he looks at first glance. He runs the floor very well for a big, but unless he has time to set and gather he struggled elevating in a hurry, missing more dunks and layups than he should have. However, most of these problems showed up in the second half of the season, suggesting that this was more to fatigue than a pure lack of athleticism, given that he played around 30 minutes per game for the Jayhawks. So while I wouldn’t call him the best athlete in the draft, he’s certainly athletic enough for the NBA.

Robinson will play hard and give max effort every night. There is virtually no chance of him being a bust, and I see his floor as an NBA player as a well above-average rebounder who can score 10-plus a game just on offensive rebounds and dunks, and his ceiling is that of a post player who commands a double team and also brings good defense and elite rebounding. Sounds like a great No. 3 pick to me.

Previously: ‘Better Than Wade’? Why The Wiz Want Bradley Beal

(Thomas Robinson Curly W image taken with love from SportySexyCool.)

11 thoughts on “‘A Major Step Up’? Why The Wiz Should Want Thomas Robinson”

  1. Really liked this analysis — great points. My take is that if we had the 4th pick and Beal & MKG were gone, I’d be happy to have him. But I take the points above.

    I will say this: If we know anything about Robinson’s biggest skill — rebounding — it’s that it translates to the NBA the best of any skill displayed in college. However…

    It is also the one most consistently found deeper in the draft — think of Faried (or Blair or Milsap). In fact, I would argue that you could get 80% of Robinson’s rebounding upside by grabbing anyone in the college hoops Top 10 in rebounding efficiency this past season. I’m particularly high on Norfolk State’s Kyle O’Quinn, who destroyed the same Missouri team that Robinson dominated (and his biggest fans point to when they illustrated how good he is). O’Quinn can be had at the back of the 1st round.

    At some point — possibly this season, after everyone saw what Faried did — the NBA Draft will finally be an efficient market as it relates to rebounders. But it seems like we could still get Robinson-like rebounding value later in the draft without using a No. 3 overall pick on it.

    But, again, I really like Robinson and really appreciated your smart take above.

  2. Great comment, Dan, though the Wiz seem incapable of getting that rebounding value later in the draft, even when it’s staring them right in the face (see: DeJaun Blair in ’09).

  3. Rebounding is the best thing to translate to the NBA. For all we know Brad Beal could turn out to be another Jordan Crawford volume scorer. I’ve had enough of Crawford. Shooting guard is such a crapshoot. I’d favor MKG and Robinson over him. MKG for an ability to do a little of everything and be a defensive hound. Robinson, you know what you’re going to get. Three years consistency and this past year just being a monster.

    Shanoff, I don’t know if I buy the O’Quinn hype especially if the Missouri game is the benchmark you’re using. That team overachieved all year and was dominated by guard play. Every mock draft I’m looking at has O’Quinn going undrafted.

  4. Yeah I like TRob and the wiz could use someone like him. However when his supporter (Steve) admits that he won’t get any double teams in the league, well than maybe he’s not our guy at #3. Agree with shanoff.

  5. Beal’s eFG was ‘only’ 52% in college. That does not bode well at all for being dominant at the next level. He is also a VERY streaky jump shooter, shooting Florida out of quite a few games. At 6-3 (listed, could be even shorter) I also wonder if the upside is there for him to be a top 5 pick. I would have liked to see him develop for a few years before spending this high a pick on him. Buyer beware I guess.

  6. what up, fetch?

    i used to talk baseball with fetch back in the day. odd that i’d see his writing on a local sports blog years later.

    it should be noted, he’s a kansas homer.

  7. as much as his rebounding would help the Wiz and as much fun as he is to watch, i think MKG is the best fit/value for the Wiz at #3.

    if davis/MKG go 1/2, i’m definitely all-in on robinson at #3 – if nothing else, we’ll at least have someone comparable to lebron in physical appearance.

  8. illformula!

    Don’t tell anyone but I’d probably also rather have MKG. Especially if some team can fix his jumper.

  9. He’s Kenyon Martin basically, and I’m torn on how he’d fit in to this team. I want to like him, but can’t get over his height and lack of scoring on the block

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