- Paul Sherman/Daily
By Simon Kaufman, Daily Sports Writer
Published June 25, 2014
The last time Glenn Robinson III was in New York, he took center stage. The former Michigan forward scored 17 points against Stanford and helped the Wolverines ice the win down the stretch in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational at the Barclays Center in late December.
Thursday night, he’ll be the talk of the Barclays Center for the NBA Draft at some point in the night, but that point in time is still unknown.
Despite some experts saying he could have been a first-round pick in last year’s draft, Robinson elected to return for his sophomore season. Inconsistency plagued him throughout the year, and he wasn’t the leading force of Michigan’s offense many expected he would be. Still, despite some struggles, Robinson still has head-turning ability that a lot of NBA general managers would love.
With the future of NBA prospects soon to be announced, The Daily takes a look at Robinson’s time at Michigan and which jersey he might wear next.
WHAT WE KNOW: Robinson was the Wolverines’ most gifted athlete but was never able to showcase his full potential in Michigan coach John Beilein’s offense. During his freshman year, Robinson was forced to play the ‘4’ due to the team’s lack of size. He took on the role, averaging 11 points per game in his first year and helping the Wolverines reach the Final Four.
Robinson skipped out on the draft last year in part because he thought if he returned he could play his natural ‘3’ position. But with sophomore forward Mitch McGary injured, Robinson was relegated to his less-preferred ‘4’ spot for most of the year. Robinson admitted he became more comfortable at that spot as the year went on, and his numbers proved it. He averaged more than 13 points per game and shot 48.8 percent from the field during his sophomore campaign.
Had he entered the draft following his freshman year, he likely would have been guaranteed to go in the first round. But since sticking around for a second year at Michigan, his draft stock has slipped. ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford predicted Robinson going 15th in a preseason mock draft. Ford has Robinson going 31st in his latest predictions.
Robinson has had workouts with the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls over the last month. All of those teams except Chicago have picks in the 20-30 range.
WHAT’S POSSIBLE: Expect Robinson to go late in the first round or be one of the first picks in the second round.
We can expect that the team that will draft him has plans to use him at the ‘3’ and let him showcase all his skills. However, one of Robinson’s strengths is the fact that his 6-foot-6, 220-pound frame gives him the flexibility to fill in down low. This means a team may take him and not have him play solely at the ‘3’ position.
His inconsistent play and comfort taking a backseat to Nik Stauskas this past season may concern some NBA front offices, but his raw athleticism has many scouts drooling over his potential at the next level.
POTENTIAL LANDING SPOTS: While Robinson won’t hear his name called first, like his father, Glenn Robinson, Jr., did in the 1994 draft, he still might end up in the same city where his dad started his career.
Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers have the 28th pick and could pick Robinson up if they have plans of seeing him and Chris Paul pair up on the floor. Robinson could have an immediate impact in LA — their current starting small forward is 34-year-old Matt Barnes who averaged less than 10 points during the regular season.
Phoenix Suns: On paper, Robinson in a Suns’ jersey looks good. The fast-paced play that Phoenix embraces would allow Robinson to showcase his athleticism. PJ Tucker is the Suns’ current ‘3’ and started in 81 games last season, but he’s entering restricted free agency and Phoenix may need to find a replacement. The Suns have three first-round picks and would most likely grab Robinson with the 27th selection.
San Antonio Spurs: There’s no doubt that Robinson would love to start his career with the defending champions. Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard said he is confident that he’ll agree to a contract extension with the Spurs, but if he doesn’t, he’d be a restricted free agent after next season. Regardless of Leonard staying, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich could find a way to work Robinson into the lineup as he’s proven to do with all sorts of players during his coaching career, and Robinson would work well with a group of guys characterized by their lack of egos and being all about the team. The Spurs have the 30th pick in the first round.
Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks are in desperate need of help after finishing with the league’s worst record last season at 15-67. Robinson has ties with the team who drafted his dad and where the elder Robinson played for eight seasons. Milwaukee’s opening-game starter at small forward, Caron Butler, was bought out and later signed by the Oklahoma City Thunder in February, so Robinson could immediately come in and play a major role. The Bucks have the 2nd, 31st and 36th pick but would likely need to grab Robinson with the 31st to make sure he’s still available.
PREDICTION: Robinson follows in his father’s footsteps and gets drafted by the Bucks with the 31st overall pick. Robinson would work great with Popovich in San Antonio, but assuming Leonard gets locked up, the Spurs don’t need another small forward. Of all the teams eyeing Robinson, Milwaukee is in need of the most immediate impact, and Robinson offers them instant bang for their buck.