The Charlotte Bobcats are an absolute mess. The roster is in shambles and they are coming off one of the worst, if not the worst season in NBA history.
Winning the NBA draft lottery and the right to draft Anthony Davis first overall could have been the momentum shift the team so desperately needed.
While the No. 2 pick isn't something to scoff at, there's a clear difference between Anthony Davis and the rest of the draft. With Davis off the board, there are five names that have been mentioned in connection with the Bobcats. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal, Thomas Robinson, Harrison Barnes, and, to a lesser extent, Andre Drummond.
The team still has faith in Gerald Henderson. They just drafted Kemba Walker last year so Beal may not be the best fit. MKG has always been an option, but it has been reported that owner Michael Jordan isn't sold on MKG's star potential, something that Jordan sees as a critical component to their decision with the selection.
Barnes has shot up draft boards after his shocking athletic testing numbers, and in his latest chat, Chad Ford explained how Harrison Barnes has a legitimate shot at No. 2 (although eh is a reach).
Through all this, one player remains: KU's Thomas Robinson.
The Bobcats have been high on Robinson all along, and at this point, assuming the Bobcats keep the pick, it would seem as if he's their guy. Chad ford has had Thomas Robinson at No. 2 in his last several mock drafts and barring new information, the Bobcats are likely prepared to take him in Thursday's draft.
For the Bobcats to skip over MKG and Beal for Robinson would be a huge mistake for the franchise, and would set the team back enormously in their rebuilding process.
Robinson has some good qualities. He's experienced, skilled, and a winner. Charlotte is trying to change the culture surrounding the team, and Robinson fits the mould. The problem is, scouts and analysts alike are getting too caught up in intangibles, and not focusing enough on what's most important, especially for a top pick: talent and potential.
Robinson has the ability to be a good player in the NBA, but he doesn't have the qualities of a star, or even a high caliber starter.
The Bobcats made the same exact mistake in last year's draft, or at least they drafted the same type of player. Kemba Walker was an experienced winner with an excellent college resume. In fact, it was about as good as it gets. He was an unstoppable scorer and carried his team all the way to a national championship. Robinson has a comparable record.
Walker had a decent rookie season, but wasn't really ready for NBA competition, shooting an embarrassing 37% from the floor and an atrocious 30% from behind the arc. He won in college, but the NBA is a completely different game, and in the end, if you don't have the talent, you aren't going to succeed. At least enough to justify a top-2 pick.
Robinson averaged an impressive 17-12 at Kansas last year, but there are a couple of serious red flags in his game.
Right off the bat, he's a junior. He has two full years on Beal and MKG and he didn't dominate in his fist two seasons by any means. Although both of the star freshman struggled at times throughout the season, it's scary to imagine what they could do as juniors. Even Barnes was substantially more successful in his first two seasons than Robinson. Granted Robinson did play behind the Morris brothers, he still failed to emerge until just this season.
Beyond his age, Robinson's offensive game is still a work in progress. He settles for perimeter shots far too often and tries to take defenders off the dribble to score. That's fine in college, but he's probably going to have to abandon that strategy when he gets to the NBA.
Unfortunately, his post game isn't necessarily elite either, so it hard to project him as a great NBA scorer. He has struggled with length in the past, and although he measured well at the combine, he's still short of 6'9 and longer post defenders could give him a lot of trouble.
Being small for his position will also be a problem defensively. He's quick and strong, but he doesn't really have the requisite size and skill to defend the post especially well. He may not be a bad defender, but he won't be a good one, either.
One skill that should translate to the NBA is Robinson's rebounding prowess. He was a monster on the boards this past season at Kansas, and he should be able snatch up more than his fair share of rebounds in the pros. He may not be as dominant as he was in college, but he'll rebound well. The problem is, so does Reggie Evans.
Rebounding alone is enough to secure a spot on an NBA roster for a long time, but it's not something that will vault him into the starting rotation. Robinson is a great athlete and rebounder, but when push comes to shove, he doesn't bring much else to the table for an NBA team.
Robinson will peak as a starter in his prime, but he's not going to lead a team. He'll spend most of his career coming off the bench. Playing in Charlotte will be a lot different than playing at Kansas, and I don't think it will be a smooth transition for Thomas Robinson.
MKG and Beal may not project as NBA superstars, or have the unconventional skill set of Thomas Robinson, but I think both players have the potential to be key components of a champion, or at least have lengthy careers as solid starters. Robinson, in my mind, is much more of a question mark.
At the top of the NBA draft, it's always a smart decision to draft for talent. Although Robinson is an interesting player who has a bright future in the league, he's a tier below the others. The Bobcats should pass on him come draft day.