Kings draft Thomas Robinson at #5; sell 36th overall pick to the Indiana Pacers

 

First, let me start with the bad. The bad is that the Kings could have taken a talented player at 36, such as Will Barton or Quincy Miller, and it would have been well worth the Kings time to do so. That said, I’m not that disappointed but I do think it illustrates how difficult the overall situation of the franchise is at the moment.

Selling the pick doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot, and there is the fact that the Kings could easily resign Terrence Williams, a Free Agent, and Tyler Honeycutt could be ready to play at least backup SF minutes next season. So it’s not like it’s completely  out of the realm to believe that the Kings did something crazy. It’s just disappointing that a chance to maximize production out of a cheap NBA contract was not taken. That’s how teams like the Kings improve as a franchise and get to where they want to go. But I digress.

Let me get to the part of the post I really want to get at.

Thomas Robinson. I love him myself. While I don’t think Robinson is the best player the Kings could have gotten necessarily (I think Damian Lillard and Andre Drummond have the same kind of talent with more upside), I do think Thomas Robinson is the perfect fit the Kings could have gotten from this draft, and, outside of a few NBA players, anywhere else either. Repeat after me: PERFECT FIT.

Just because of Thomas Robinson, the Kings had a great draft. Robinson will be one of the 10 best players in the draft, and while I don’t think he’ll be top 5, I bet he’ll be top 6-7 at the same time. That’s the bad news. I think Robinson has a limited ceiling. That’s the worst thing I will write I promise. It’s all upside from here.

 

If by any chance you have not seen Mike Schmitz’s terrific break down of Robinson, please do so.


 

Here is another video of highlights on Robinson.

Here is a game against Georgetown where Robinson had a strong game statistically in a close victory.

Now, I’m going to break down some stats using the always wonderful Ken Pom (which is now a subscription only service):

Thomas Robinson
Junior
Kansas
Number 0
USG% TS% eFG% ORtg DRtg ORB% DRB% TOV% FC/40 MIN%
2011-12 season at Kansas 29.7% (39) 54.9% (NR) 51.2 (NR) 106.4 (NR) N/A 11.2 (204) 30.1 (1) 16.7 (NR) 3.5 (NR) 79.2 (313)
2010-11 season at Kansas

26.7 (NR)

58.8 (NR) 60.1 (NR) 108.7 (NR) N/A 18.8 (NR) 31.1 (NR) 19.0 (NR) 5.6 (NR) 31.6 (NR)
2009-10 season at Kansas 25.1 (NR) 46.9 (NR) 48.5 (NR) 87.9 (NR) N/A 17.0 (NR) 23.2 (NR) 25.1 (NR) 7.3 (NR) 16.3 (NR)

FC/40 stands for Fouls Committed per 40 minutes. The big reasons I added it there is to highlight Robinson is not foul prone. The parentheses are where Robinson ranked in the country in terms of various categories.

Some trends in here that matter. One, as Robinson got older he fouled less and turned the ball over less. That’s one reason I like him. The other is that with more minutes, he got better in many categories. The one category that is a bit worrisome is Robinson’s average (by NBA standards) TS% in his Junior season, but I’ll live with that. Robinson is a bit like Kawhi Leonard in that he was a primary offensive option when Robinson should not have been in a more ideal situation.

The one thing you should note is that Robinson is a ferocious defensive rebounder, better than DeMarcus Cousins even (who posted a 25.1 DRB% at Kentucky in the 2009-10 season which is still tremendous), and the Kings were 29th as a team in DRB% in the 2011-12 season. In otherwords, Robinson is an immediate upgrade on the defensive boards in a way that will likely see dramatic improvements elsewhere (like easier offense and less possessions to defend leading to a lower eFG% from the field). Just for a reference point, the only players in the NBA with 30% in DRB% that qualified to be on the leaderboard are Dwight Howard and Marcus Camby. I’m not saying that Robinson will rebound like those guys, but I am saying that he very well could easily be top 10 in defensive rebounding as a rookie. There are not many guys who can say that.

Here is a great video of Robinson talking about how he feels after being drafted. Here is a tremendous piece by Tom Friend of ESPN written about Robinson and the personal tragedy he endured.

Thomas Robinson may not seem excited, and he may feel conflicted about being selected by Sacramento, but I imagine that will also change as time moves on. Whether Robinson realizes it or not, there is not a better team he could have gone to for the talents and the attitude he brings. Simply put, Thomas Robinson’s value will be maximized in a Sacramento King uniform. That’s one reason I’m so excited.

Thomas Robinson’s personal life has been discussed ad nauseum. I won’t discuss it here other than to say that A) I’m sorry for his (and his family’s) loss and B) I wish him luck. I personally like guys like Robinson who find a way to succeed. Robinson’s mother and both of his mothers parents died within a month, and then to top things off Robinson suffered a season ending knee injury all within a 2 month span of the 2010-11 season. Robinson’s response? To keep working in the off-season to rehab and have a great season. How he did that I suspect we will never know, but jeez, the man is driven if nothing else. I can’t imagine how the Kings could use that.

A big concern of Robinson was that he might not be tall or long enough to hang in the NBA, but the combine measurements in Chicago alleviated many of those doubts. The biggest thing that the measurements told me is that given Robinson’s history, he’s not likely to be a great shot blocker despite his tremendous physical gifts namely explosive athleticism.

One thing I’m interested to see is can Robinson use his great athleticism and activity to get himself easy buckets by playing off the ball. If Robinson can play in the block, and have 2 or 3 go to moves, I’ll be ecstatic. It’ll be hard to see how the guy fails without having a great post move; with a quality post move or two it’s going to be that much better.

Here’s the bottom line with Thomas Robinson if you’re that kind of person. Robinson is tough physically and mentally, he’s gifted rebounding the ball defensively, is an excellent defender, plays exceptionally hard for a player of his talent, has innate leadership qualities, and the way he runs the floor will make Keith Smart drool. (You’ll drool if you’re into the running game. Which, admittedly, I am.) The only way Thomas Robinson could be more perfect is if he had a standing reach of 9’2, had 2 or 3 more post moves like Marcus Morris, and could average at least a couple blocks a night along with his incredible rebounding. Oh, but if that was the case T-Rob would have likely been the #1 pick in the 2010 draft. That said, Thomas Robinson’s ceiling might not be as high as others taken in the top 10, but his bust potential is almost nil.

When a guy’s only real flaws is that he does not have a polished offensive game, particularly in the post, and is not a great shot blocker, that’s something else for a team that badly needs instant production.

For a team that wants to run, Thomas Robinson is the perfect fit.  Oh, one other thing.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WE GOT THOMAS ROBINSON.

Is it clear where I stand?