Thomas Robinson: Why Charlotte Bobcats Shouldn't Pass on Talented Forward
The Charlotte Bobcats need help in nearly every way and manner imaginable after a historically futile 2011-2012 season. Since the NBA draft lottery gods turned their backs on the team and denied them the first overall pick in this year's draft the team needs to do the best they can with the hand they were dealt and select Kansas forward Thomas Robinson second overall.
There have been rumors that the Bobcats are considering trading the second pick in the draft, with a Yahoo! Sports report going so far as to speculate that the Bobcats might trade out of the first round altogether.
Simply put, that would be lunacy. The Bobcats just set an NBA record by finishing the season with a winning percentage of .106. They averaged fewer than 90 points a game, and their leading scorer (guard Gerald Henderson) poured in a whopping 15.1 points per game.
The Bobcats don't need to trade back, nor do they need to stockpile picks that given the track record of team owner Michael Jordan at evaluating talent they'll be more apt to whiff on than not.
For the record, I'm aware that Rich Cho is technically the general manager of the Bobcats, but Cho has about as much shot at having final say in who gets picked by Charlotte as you and I do. The poor guy is probably lucky if Jordan lets him pick which tie he wears to work.
The Charlotte Bobcats need players, and they need players that are capable of producing quickly if they're going to begin the long trek back to respectability.
The 6'10" 237-pound Robinson averaged a double-double for Kansas last season, scoring just under 18 points a game while chipping in almost 12 rebounds and shooting nearly 51 percent from the floor on the year. That scoring and rebounding is desperately needed by the woeful Bobcats, who will host Robinson for a visit in Charlotte on Friday.
Charlotte used a platoon of sorts at power forward last year, with D.J. White and Tyrus Thomas both playing significant minutes, and even if you combine both players' numbers they still come up well short of what Robinson did as a junior with the Jayhawks.
This isn't to say that Robinson is a slam-dunk can't miss superstar in the making, as the youngster needs to work on his outside game and could stand to add some bulk to his frame once he starts banging inside with the likes of Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Atlanta Hawks' Josh Smith.
Who Should the Charlotte Bobcats Select with the Second Overall Pick in the 2012 NBA Draft?
However, Robinson helped alleviate concerns about his size by measuring out with a 7'3" wingspan and 8'10" standing reach at the recent NBA combine according to ESPN, numbers that compare favorably to Love and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, two of the NBA's premier power forwards.
Also, Robinson is a strong player, solid defender, and physical rebounder with an excellent inside game who is arguably the most NBA-ready player in this year's draft class. The Bobcats could certainly use a player able to contribute early as opposed to a "project" type that may or may not pan out.
Not only does Robinson feel he fits that bill but he recently told Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated that he feels he's worthy of consideration with the first overall pick that will all but certainly be Kentucky forward Anthony Davis.
"If you wanted to check the stats, then I'd be the No. 1 pick easily -- if that's what you want to do," he said. "I should get one of those shirts. I'll get a shirt that says, 'Numbers don't lie.' "
"I think I play with a different level than everyone else, a different intensity level," Robinson said. "I'm going to play every night -- that's not something every guy [does]. Everybody don't show up every night on a consistent basis. I think out of this group, I probably would say that I'm one of the players that do."
Robinson's assertions may not be shared by the majority, and there's a very real chance that the Bobcats will pass on him, either by trading down or selecting another player such as North Carolina forward Harrison Barnes, who Jordan (a fellow Tar Heel) has reportedly shown interest in.
However, the simple fact of the matter is that the Charlotte Bobcats are a team with more questions than answers, and their problems aren't going to go away overnight.
To borrow a baseball analogy (my apologies in advance) when you're trying to stage a big comeback nothing can kill a rally faster than swinging for the fences. The first thing you need to do is get some men on base, and while Thomas Robinson may not be a "home run" pick the polished big man is a well-hit double into the gap, and that's just the sort of building block the Bobcats need as they try to climb out of one of the deepest, darkest holes an NBA franchise has ever seen.
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