The Cleveland Cavaliers will likely have the ninth pick in this upcoming draft. In the next few weeks here at Right Down Euclid, we will be profiling players the Cavaliers might draft in the first round on June 26th. Today, we profile UCLA forward Glenn Robinson III. Click here for more draft profiles.
Tale of the Tape
Name: Glenn Robinson III
Position: Small Forward
College: University of Michigan
Honors: Honorable Mention All-Big Ten (2013, 2014), Big Ten All-Freshman (2013), ESPN All-American Championship MVP (2012)
2013-2014 Per Game Stats: 13.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 48.8 FG%, 30.6 3PT%, 75.7 FT%
Viewed as a late lottery pick last year after a strong finish to the season, Robinson opted to return to Michigan for his sophomore year. While the team was successful, it didn’t turn out to be the best move for Robinson’s NBA career. While he scored more points and had a higher free throw percentage this season, virtually all of Robinson’s other numbers were down from his freshman year. As a result, Robinson has fallen from probable lottery pick to a late first or early second round selection by a team intrigued by his athleticism and pedigree as the son of former All-Star Glenn “The Big Dog” Robinson.
Robinson’s physical tools are elite and remain the biggest reason NBA teams are intrigued by him. He is a solid athlete and spectacular leaper who plays above the rim and has excellent hands that help him catch lobs. This leaping ability also makes him a solid rebounder for his position. Robinson also has an NBA body and solid 6’9″ wingspan. He possesses great speed in transition to go along with good lateral quickness that helps him on the defensive end. Robinson is ambidextrous and is able to drive to the hoop with either hand. Most importantly, Robinson plays with great energy, which helps him use his athletic gifts well. It would be no surprise to see Robinson excel during testing at the draft combine and help improve his stock in the eyes of talent evaluators.
Robinson’s offense is based around his athleticism at this point in his career. He excels in transition and can finish lobs at the rim in both transition and in the half court. Robinson is also an excellent cutter and offensive rebounder due to his quickness and leaping ability. Robinson is an efficient scorer who shot 49 percent from the field and 76 percent from the free throw line this season. On the negative side, Robinson does not create well for himself or others, averaging just over one assist per game over the past two seasons. His ball handling skills are also very basic, and while he excels on straight drives to the rim, anything else is currently beyond his skill set. While he has good form, Robinson is a subpar shooter from deep, averaging just over 30 percent from three this past season. Much of this has to do with poor footwork on his shot, which should be correctable, especially considering his strong free throw shooting and mid-range game. Robinson also tends to defer to teammates on offense, but considering he averages less than four free throw attempts per forty minutes this may be for the best.
Robinson shows tremendous potential on the defensive end. He moves very well laterally and has good length, which helps him bother the opposing ball handler/shooter. At just over 6’6” with a 6’9” wingspan, Robinson has good (but not great) size for an NBA wing. His combination of size and quickness should help him defend both small forwards and shooting guards at the next level. Interestingly, while Robinson is an above-average offensive rebounder, the same cannot be said about his work on the defensive glass, where his average of three rebounds per game is mediocre. Robinson also has great instincts for jumping the passing lanes, and has averaged 1.2 steals per 40 minutes in each of his college seasons. He does have to improve his consistency and toughness to reach his full potential as a defensive force.
Robinson is a bit of a dichotomy here. He plays with energy in some situations, but is passive in others. For instance, he can be a beast in transition and aggressively cuts off the ball, but can also be too passive and willing to defer to others. Robinson’s inconsistent motor carries over to the defensive end, where he shows tremendous potential, but seemingly lacks the confidence to be a defensive force similar to the players he is compared to (see next section). This contrast extends to Robinson’s pedigree. As mentioned above, Robinson’s father was the first overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft and a two-time All Star, but Robinson was primarily raised by his mother and maternal grandmother in Indiana while his father lived in Atlanta, so how much influence the elder Robinson had on his son’s career is unknown. One thing that is not debatable is Robinson’s basketball I.Q.. He is an extremely intelligent and efficient player who usually plays to his strengths and makes the right play for his team.
Robinson has been compared to NBA wings such as Trevor Ariza, Jimmy Butler, Andre Iguodala, and Luol Deng. All of these players are extremely athletic wings who have used that athleticism to become top-flight defenders and very capable offensive players, but tend to be inconsistent shooters from the outside. Even Ariza, who was excellent from deep this season, has only been above league average the last two seasons and still has a below-average career percentage from three. While some would argue that their lack of three point shooting has made these wings somewhat less valuable to modern NBA offenses, they help their teams in so many other ways that any team would love to have them. If Robinson’s passing can improve to the level of these players as he gains more experience, then he can be an impact player on a true title contender.
How Does He Fit on the Cavaliers?
If he had declared for the draft a year ago, the Cavaliers may have selected Robinson over Sergey Karasev with the nineteenth pick in the draft. As it stands today, there is a solid chance that Robinson will be there when the Cavaliers make their pick in the second round. While Robinson would not give the Cavaliers the outside shooting that they need, he should to provide solid defense and above-the-rim play on the offensive end almost immediately. The Cavaliers could have Robinson take Alonzo Gee’s place as the backup small forward early in his career and see if they are able to help him develop into something more. Even if he remains a player who uses athleticism more than skill to effect games, that is tremendous value for a second round pick.