2012 NBA Draft

NBA Draft 2012: Why Thomas Robinson's Mental Toughness Makes Him the Best Choice

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02:  Thomas Robinson #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14 of the Kentucky Wildcats go after a loose ball in the first half in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 2, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Tom FirmeAnalyst IIJune 27, 2012

Anthony Davis has been presumed to be the No. 1 pick in the draft. Finding a mock draft that doesn't have Davis going No. 1 is difficult. However, that he's widely projected to be the top pick doesn't mean that he'd be the best choice.

When considering overall ability and NBA readiness, Davis isn't quite the prospect that Thomas Robinson is. Robinson has a wider shooting repertoire and better rebounding ability. Also, Robinson has impressive physical strength, which Anthony Davis has yet to develop.

To go with that great physical strength, Robinson has unquestionable mental toughness. He has demonstrated that quality both on and off the court.

Robinson showed in a draft combine interview with DraftExpress.com that he's highly confident in his abilities. He said, "I'm a winner, and I'm a competitor. I'm going to bring it every day."

Robinson also said in the interview that he wants to be able to guard any position.

He told the News-Herald, "I don't want to be the top pick. I want to be the best pick."

Being picked No. 1 would simply mean that Robinson would be awarded more money than any other player chosen in the draft. To be drafted first would be a nice honor and it would put him in a special place in history.

However, it wouldn't be an earned place in history. A player doesn't work to become the No. 1 player in the draft. Also, the best player in the draft often isn't the top pick, such as Dirk Nowitzki, who went No. 9 in the 1998 draft, and Chris Paul, who went No. 4 in the 2005 draft.

His play on the glass in the NCAA Tournament showed how tough he is when it matters. The Washington, D.C., native pulled down 12.5 boards per game in the tournament. He grabbed a fantastic 17 boards in the championship game and had 13 or more rebounds in four of the six tournament games.

What's remarkable about Robinson, is his consistency throughout the season on the boards. He never had less than seven rebounds in a game in 2011-12, and had 10 or more rebounds in 27 of 39 games.

Playing tough will make Robinson a lasting success in the pros. His fight on the inside will make him a solid rebounder for a long time. Also, his toughness inside can help him build his offensive post game, as he learns to move better and diversify his game down low.

The team that picks him will be overjoyed with the tenacity he provides in the post.

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