Detroit Pistons Draft Targets: Thomas Robinson, Kansas

Jay Wierenga@@JayWierengaCorrespondent IJanuary 24, 2012

LAWRENCE, KS - JANUARY 16:  Thomas Robinson #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks reacts after being fouled during the game against the Baylor Bears on January 16, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

In the first two installments of this series , we took a look at Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond. In the third, we will be exploring Kansas' junior forward Thomas Robinson.

My Take

Thomas Robinson, in a lot of ways, has flown under the radar. Unlike the other two guys that we explored, Robinson is in his third year of college basketball.

Although he has been playing for a very high profile school in Kansas, he was overshadowed by teammates Markieff and Marcus Morris.

This year, he earned an opportunity to shine, and boy has he seized it!

Robinson, after averaging no more than eight points and six boards in his first two years, has blown up to the tune of 18 and 12 this season.

What I like about Robinson is that he really stands out on the court. For one thing, he is built like a tank, but not in a bad way. He has the upper body of a LeBron James type, but also has length and athleticism. 

He also has a nose for the ball. He tends to always be around the action, much like Davis from Kentucky, but he rarely gets overpowered.

His greatest strengths to me appear to be his instincts on the court. He puts himself in the right spots, and doesn't shy away from contact. He knows that he is a big guy, and he is proactive in all phases of the game.

He could not be a bigger contrast to Baylor's Perry Jones or Kentucky's Terrence Jones. While those two tend to hang out on the perimeter and let the game happen around them, Robinson makes his presence felt.

Perry Jones often appears to forget that he is a big guy, and Terrence Jones becomes passive on both ends of the court when he isn't the focal point.

Robinson reminds me in some ways of Kenneth Faried in that he seems to be always where the action is, but his build is more similar to last year's No. 2  pick Derrick Williams.

Offensively, he shows some good footwork, can play facing the hoop and shows the beginnings of a decent post game. His shot is pretty solid from 15 feet in, which for a power forward is really all you need.

His rebounding is good, and that will only get better considering his proactive personality. This kid is hungry, and it shows on that end of the court.

Defensively, he has quick hands and long arms, which usually translates well at the next level. Too soon to tell if he can become a solid shot-blocker in the pros, but I would guess he could excel on defense.

The only knock I would have on him is his height. He is listed at 6'9", but the combines will probably drop him down to about 6'7". This would make him a 'tweener, something that would harm his draft stock.

Overall, however, I really like his intensity and spirit, and the Pistons likely will have the option of drafting him.

Scout's Take by ESPN

Projection Top 10 Pick
  • Long, athletic big man
  • Very physical
  • Excellent rebounder
  • Explosive leaper
  • Strong, NBA body
  • Tough defender
  • Needs refinement in the post
  • Needs more minutes, experience

How He Fits Detroit

Drafting Robinson would be a pretty good move for Detroit.

He would allow Monroe to stay at the 5-spot, and he would take some of the defensive pressure off of him. He provides much more offense than Drummond or Davis, but he also doesn't need the ball to go through him to be effective.

Robinson would mostly specialize in put-backs and pick and rolls, but the offense could still go through Monroe. I could envision Robinson pairing well with Monroe on offense since he will be actively moving, and Monroe can hit him with cutting passes from the high post.

Defensively, he will take some pressure off of Monroe, but not as much as Davis would. He still would have difficulty with the real physical presences like David West, but his quickness and athleticism will help against guys like LaMarcus Aldridge.

The real question is how tall Robinson really is. If he is close to his listed 6'9", then by all means go for it. But if he is actually closer to 6'7", then the Pistons might want to pass.

Regardless, he is worth a high lottery pick, and with his tenacity and hunger, big things could be in his future.


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