Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Thomas Robinson


  • Measurables: 6-foot-9, 237 pounds, junior F from Kansas
  • Key Stats: 17.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, .9 blocks per game while shooting 51 percent from the field
  • Projected: Top 5
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Why I’m intrigued by this guy

If the Pistons miraculously land the No. 2 pick in the draft during tomorrow night’s draft lottery, I have a hunch the choice for them will essentially boil down to Robinson or UConn’s Andre Drummond. While Drummond is the higher risk/higher reward prospect of the two, Robinson is a little bit older and a little less physically imposing than Drummond. Still though, if the Pistons lean towards Robinson, they’ll be getting a tough, smart and hard-working player who might eventually rival Ben Wallace in the weight room with his physique.

Pros for the Pistons

Robinson would be a great compliment to Greg Monroe up front simply because he’s almost a polar opposite. While Monroe is a highly skilled largely finesse player at this point in his career, Robinson is the blue-collar brute the Pistons currently lack and sorely need if they’re going to ever get back to the tough, physical type of defensive basketball Lawrence Frank would like them to play.

Robinson was one of the best rebounders in the country, he’s a fantastic finisher in traffic and his offensive repertoire has quickly evolved from his sophomore season (when he was a role player) to his junior season (when he became a focal point of the Kansas offense). Robinson has skills that would help the Pistons immediately, but he also has enough upside to suggest that he could add even more to his game over the next few seasons.

Cons for the Pistons

The one skill Pistons fans are hoping for from any big man the Pistons land in the draft is shot blocking. Unfortunately, Robinson isn’t a big-time shot blocker. That doesn’t mean he’s bad defensively — he’s a solid individual defender and, like Monroe, has quick hands that allow him to come up with strips and steals.

He’s also a tad undersized — generously listed at 6-foot-9 — for his position. His athleticism and wingspan make up for that, and Wallace is certainly enough evidence that a strong, hard-working, athletic player can overcome a lack of height in the NBA post, but Robinson on the Pistons would probably fit best as a power forward, meaning fans hoping to see Monroe become more of a power forward than a center probably wouldn’t get their wish.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

Many scouts believe Robinson is one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft. What Robinson should provide right away are athleticism, toughness, an NBA-ready body and a motor that won’t quit on both ends of the floor. He’s been a monster rebounder for KU and is aggressive looking for his shot around the rim.

Robinson surprised scouts this year with his ball handling ability and a solid midrange jump shot. He’s not afraid to get the ball at the top of the key and create his shot there. His quickness for a player his size and his explosive leaping ability make him a formidable threat offensively down the road.


Robinson has also shown flashes of being able to catch the ball facing up and isolate his man at the elbow or in the mid-range area. He’s a very good ball-handler for a player his size and he’s able to utilize his quickness advantage on most opposing big man and get to the basket on straight line drives. He also does an excellent job using spin moves to change directions and get to the rim.

Robinson is one of the safer picks around the top of the draft … He has the tools and the work ethic to become an ideal pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop kind of power forward … Once Robinson polishes his post moves and jump shot, he should be a fixture in a team’s starting lineup for a long time.

Dana O’Neil, ESPN:

By now, almost everyone in college basketball knows Robinson’s heart-wrenching story. He lost his beloved grandmother and grandfather in the span of three weeks.

Then, five days after his grandfather’s passing — on Jan. 21, 2011 — his mother, Lisa, died unexpectedly, leaving Robinson, in the midst of his sophomore season at Kansas, in charge of his 9-year-old sister, Jayla, who lived half a country away.

Were that the end of the story, had Robinson’s tale stopped at Lisa’s gravesite, with the heartbreaking picture of Jayla wrapped around her brother’s waist, this would be a tragedy.

Instead, the final chapters are a long way from being written, and Robinson, once the brave figure who played in a game the day after Lisa died, is a hero.

What is the best thing Thomas Robinson does for his team?

Kevin Hetrick of Cavs: The Blog:

Robinson’s size, strength & skills, combined with athleticism and intensity make him a can’t miss.  He’ll play hard, rebound, and provide some offense immediately, while ideally continuing to expand his post game and add range to his jumper.



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