Stanley Robinson Could Be a Draft Steal
This was evident in a crucial late-season match-up against then-second-ranked Syracuse
In a hellish game of the utmost importance for the Huskies, Robinson came out of the gate in a frenzy, dominating much of the first half with his aggressive takes to the basket and violent dunks. While his teammates seemed sluggish and unable to match Syracuse's intensity early on, Robinson's strong will and intensity set the tone. Despite the tough loss, he made a case as one of the nation's premier seniors, and helped solidify his draft status come June.
At 6-7, with an impressive 7-0 wingspan, Robinson is an excellent leaper, has a terrific first step, and is a very willing rebounder. An explosive driver who finishes above the rim, he has also developed a consistent mid-range game, seemingly comfortable out to 15 feet.
Not unlike his Big East counterpart Wesley Johnson, Robinson is a versatile player capable of defending multiple positions, offensively skilled enough to play both the three and the four. Some scouts say he's somewhat of a tweener – which is the ultimate NBA no-no, at least in terms of draft stock. Guys that don't really have a true position have a way of plummeting down the charts. Just ask DeJuan Blair. We've seen successful college players struggle as pros because of this, but then again, in today's NBA game, there is a place for tweeners.
Players like Paul Millsap are in a perfect spot when they are on teams surrounded by scorers like Mehmet Okur, Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer because the Millsaps of the world take care of the dirty work -- cleaning up the glass, hustle plays, all things that help their teams win.
The bottom line is that there are more tweeners like this in the game today than there were 20 years ago – especially in the 6-6 to 6-9 range. Back then, you had a more traditional 3-5 line-up (think Boston Celtics with Bird, McHale and Parish). Case in point: what position does Josh Smith really play? Is he a three or a four? Is Stephen Curry really a point guard? Or is he a combo guy? There is a certain amount of juggling around versatile players today that didn't used to happen. All that matters is can you play or not.
The aspect to consider with a player like Robinson is that the tweener status he has been deemed as can actually be a good thing. So he's not your conventional small forward. That's okay. He's such a high-level athlete that he will disrupt scorers and create problems for defenses. He used four years of college to strengthen his body, so even though he's not a bulky post defender, he is very capable to guarding guys on the block, as well as finish through contact.
Because he is an explosive athlete, Robinson is a high-ceiling, high-upside type of player. He is a senior, yes, but still just 21, there is plenty of room for growth. Robinson reminds me a bit of Gerald Henderson, the Charlotte forward and rookie out of Duke. Although he doesn't have quite the same feel and natural instincts, Robinson is the type of talent akin to Henderson that could have a similar impact contributing in all facets of the game.
The lack of a pure basketball feel is my largest concern with him. Against an aggressive, trap-oriented press defense of Villanova towards the end of the season, Robinson was a turnover machine, hesitant to dribble and errant on his passes. It culminated midway through the second half when he literally walked with the basketball after looking extremely uncomfortable with the ball in his hands. All in all, Robinson finished the game with 7 turnovers to go along with his 10 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 assists.
This is the type of impact he can have, both negative and positive. He has the talent to contribute immediately, but at what price? And is this is a kid who lacks the innate basketball feel necessary to fully develop and maximize his raw talents?
Despite his struggles, it is safe to say Robinson gives you more of the good than bad. He is a high energy kid who rebounds the ball (7.6 per game) and defends (more than one block and steal per game).
He must work on his line-drive shot to become a more consistent outside shooter, but even so, he connected on over 36 percent of his threes this past season. And because he attacks the rim so well, many of his field goal attempts are close to the basket, hence his staggeringly high 52.5 percent shooting percentage.
He is a rangy athlete with excellent length and decent enough quickness to guard smaller players. Robinson should immediately be able to contribute at the defensive end, as a front-line defender off the bench. Moreover, the emotional issues earlier in his career are apparently solved, as Calhoun has said this is one of his favorite kids he's ever coached.
If I had to give him a grade, right now it'd be a "C+," with the potential to one day become a "B." Like fellow senior counterpart Quincy Pondexter, Robinson won't be an All-Star, but neither will most of this draft class, so getting him in the latter stages of the first round or early second could be a real steal.