They used to call it one of the best draft classes of the last 25 years. Now, it’s looking more and more like Anthony Davis… and then everybody else. Still, this Thursday, the 2012 NBA Draft will bring hope, and hopefully new talent to some teams that desperately need it.
As we do every year, Dime will be holding you down with mock drafts, player interviews and diaries (you should check out Dion Waiters‘ draft diary), and we will also be bringing you draft profiles for every potential prospect deemed worthy. With this year’s crop of talent, that list is long. Our last profile was on the future of Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger. Today, we’re looking at Kansas’ Thomas Robinson.
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Best Case: Blake Griffin
Worst Case: Brandon Bass
Final Comparison: Paul Millsap
Robinson is an explosive leaper who uses that on both defense and offense. There’s no reason to question his ability to get up and get a ball either to punch it through the cup or into the stands. He’s quick laterally, which can make up for being a bit undersized by some estimates at 6-9 for the four spot. The aforementioned leaping, however, is his key, as he can jump from either foot and finish with each hand. He can run a traditional fast break or trail in the secondary break as well as any power forward in the game because of his speed and his ability to switch gears quickly. One of his most valuable assets is his ability to keep the ball high after a rebound, while using his springs to pop back up for a shot as quickly as possible. He leaves less time than almost anyone else in college this season on the floor between offensive board and shot.
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What Robinson will need to improve on is taking a big man to the basket from a traditional post move. He’s got them, to be certain; however, they’ll have to be improved significantly against NBA competition, where he won’t be able to bowl over a defender with his above-average quickness. A one-on-one game isn’t playing to his strengths if he catches the ball with the intent to make a move to the block first, but he’s shown that he can be an above-average shooter from 15-19 feet in the last season. That’s key because he didn’t show that in his (albeit few) minutes in 2011, so I wouldn’t count out him picking up new tricks to his post game. Robinson is a natural shot blocker and his passing is good enough to rotate the ball out of a double team. Even for his huge season with Kansas, making his jump shot consistent seems to be a bit of a project.
We’re not sold on the jump shot quite yet, and his post moves are more of a Charles Oakley than an Al Jefferson at this point. The same could have been said, and was, about Blake Griffin in 2009 and he’s certainly flourished while developing a true post game on the fly (no pun intended) as he takes advantage with his athletic strengths. A point of concern is his shooting percentage last season was 50 percent despite most of those buckets coming at the rim or within five feet. It seems that number should have been higher. His readiness concerning his strength is a complete non-concern, however. Robinson is the anti-Kevin Durant going into this Draft with his chiseled-out-of-marble physique. He’ll handle the rigors of a season well.