Former Michigan standout Glenn Robinson III had an inconsistent two-year college career, but there were no doubts as to whether he was an NBA-caliber talent. The 2014 draft confirmed that, as the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Robinson No. 40 overall in the second round on Thursday.
Robinson has had big shoes to fill since his father, Glenn Robinson Jr., went No. 1 overall to the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1994 draft after starring at Purdue.
Although he couldn't have aspired to such gaudy status, there were enough flashes of brilliance amid Glenn Robinson III's stint in the Big Ten to warrant a relatively high selection into the Association. Now it's up to the dynamic forward to prove he's worth the investment.
Head coach Flip Saunders believes in Robinson:
There were times in college when Robinson seemed to shy away from the big moment, particularly as a freshman during Michigan's NCAA runner-up finish. In his second season, Robinson was forced to become more of a leader and be more assertive, which helped him improve overall.
However, due to the deep 2014 draft class and the unsure commodity Robinson has proven to be, he fell further than he might have last year. That's what happens with an unrefined perimeter game and limited results to point to.
But just like Saunders, Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com acknowledged Robinson's potential:
Robinson related his struggle living up to the hype at Michigan to his ascent through the high school ranks, per CityLeagueHoops.net's Rodger Bohn:
It’s crazy because being at this level and trying to make it to the NBA, it reminds me of high school when I was unranked and I had to move up the ladder. It’s great to have already been through that and to know how to come to the top from being at the bottom. I’m really looking forward to this process.
ESPN's Chad Ford recorded some of the measurements and the massive max vertical leap Robinson had at the predraft combine:
To be more of a proponent of Robinson's, he did play well to cap off his career in the NCAA tournament, consistently scoring in double figures and averaging nearly 14 points and five rebounds per contest. In that span, he also drained 6 of 10 attempts from beyond the arc, flashing the outside shooting that could make him into a legitimate star.
During March Madness, a scout analyzed Robinson and told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports that he may have gotten himself into the first round:
For the time being, Minnesota can only expect Robinson to bring energy and athleticism off the bench—if he's even able to crack the rotation as a rookie.
Robinson is the type of developmental prospect who has strong value at this stage of the draft, but the Timberwolves will have to be patient for the next year or two to begin reaping the rewards of acquiring him.
All-Star power forward Kevin Love isn't guaranteed to hang around beyond this season, though Robinson has a better chance at making an NBA impact at the 3. At that spot, Minnesota has Shabazz Muhammad and Robbie Hummel from last year's draft.
The toughest part about projecting Robinson at the next level is that he doesn't have a true position between the 4 or the 3. That will be part of the trick; Minnesota has to figure out how to get the most out of one of the 2014 class' superior athletes who hasn't quite put it all together. If and when Robinson does find a niche, though, don't be surprised if he blossoms into a strong starter.
Being a second-round pick should give Robinson incentive to prove doubters wrong. Draftees are often shaped by their circumstances, and a lot of their success has to do with landing in the right situation. Time will tell whether that's the case for Robinson, but in terms of his developmental path, the Timberwolves are a great place to start.