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Thomas Robinson: 2012 NBA Draft Scouting Report

June 5, 2012

Thomas Robinson

6-9 power forward
7-1 wingspan
240 pounds

NBA Draft Predictions as of June 4, 2012 – 2nd overall – 2nd overall
ESPN’s Chad Ford – 4th overall Prediction as of June 5, 2012

June 27, 2012 – Updated Prediction – See Jared Sullinger versus Thomas Robinson post

Thomas Robinson will have a successful NBA career as an above average power forward in his NBA career.  One should expect his good years to mirror Paul Millsap’s value by averaging around 14 to 18 points a game while grabbing 7 to 9 rebounds.  He is a high-energy, high-motor player that is actually athletic.  He also possess some basketball skills, not just raw athleticism.

There are some fears that Robinson’s game suits college basketball more than the professional game given the intensity he plays with.  One can even make a comparison to a Tyler Hansbrough who was also great college basketball player with an absolutely high motor.  However, unlike Hansbrough, Robinson is actually faster and more athletic.  A Tyler Hansbrough type should be his maximum downside.

For his upside, it could be a better offensive version of a Paul Millsap.  As you will see on the “Ability to Create shots” section below, Thomas Robinson actually has some significant potential in being a legitimate post presence in the NBA.

However, as mentioned above, I predict him to be more of a Paul Millsap as a decent over under estimate.  Despite his ability to create shots, I don’t see a Carlos Boozer or Zach Randolph type post presence because his body control though good isn’t on that level.  I also don’t see a face up big man type of an Amare Stoudemire or Blake Griffin because his speed and athleticism combination though very good isn’t superstar level.

With Thomas Robinson, you get a very good basketball player that impacts the team with positive energy and an offensive asset at the same time.

Here is a short summary on why I made this prediction.  See Scouting Criteria page for my definitions and examples of each category.

Aggressiveness – High
Ability to Create Shots – High
Performance Against Top Players and Teams – Moderate
Mental Make-up – High

Mental Make-up

Score: High

Thomas Robinson is a great example of a high character guy.  Last season, Thomas Robinson lost his grandfather, grandmother and mother within about a month of each other.  Additionally, he had to deal with the uncertain custody situation of her little sister.   He even needed surgery to repair a meniscus tear.

Despite given a lot of reason to throw in the towel and think that the entire world is against him, Robinson instead used this a motivation to be a great basketball player.

Ability to Create Shots

Score: High

Thomas Robinson scores fairly high in this area as well.   Here scores well because of:

  • Face-up Skill: This is primarily the strongest part of his game.  Due to his speed and above average dribbling skills for a big man, Robinson is able to get by his defender.  If the opponent sags and gives him the jumper, Robinson has a decent ability and stroke to make it.  His jumper is good but needs more work.  However, the shooting stroke is there for him to consistently make it.
  • Post-up skill: Robinson has decent post up skills.  It also a developing part of his game but the raw skills are there.  He is likely to develop a decent post up game given his general aggressiveness and hardworking attitude.
  • Passing ability: For a big guy, Robinson has decent court vision.  It’s certainly not to Royce White’s level, but he certainly makes good passes in traffic.  His passing ability is ahead of Anthony Davis and Jared Sullinger at this point.

Against Best Ranked Teams and in Big Games

Score: Moderate

Thomas Robinson scores moderate in this area.  The table below illustrates what Thomas Robinson did in his junior year against ranked teams (excluding the NCAA tournament) and during the NCAA tournament.  The numbers below represent his 30 minute per game averages.

What we learn is that Robinson played above his season averages in the 9 games against ranked teams.  However, we also saw a decline during his 6 NCAA tournament games, mainly due to the decline of his field goal percentage.

Per 30 minutes Games PTS REB FG%
Season 39 16.7 11.2 50.5%
Ranked Teams 9 17.6 10.8 53.9%
NCAA Tournament 6 15.2 11.4 38.7%


Score: High

Thomas Robinson scores high in this area for his position.  To examine Thomas Robinson’s aggressiveness, let’s look at two things:

  • Aggressiveness in big games
  • Aggressiveness in comparison to other big guys in this draft

Aggressiveness in big games

The table below illustrates how aggressive Thomas Robinson is in more meaningful games, specifically during the NCAA tournament and against ranked teams (excluding the NCAA tournament games).  The numbers below represent his 30 minute per game averages.

What we learn about Robinson is that when there is more a stake, he certainly is a bit more aggressive as he should be.

Per 30 minutes Games FGA FTA
Season 39 12.5 5.8
Ranked Teams 9 13.0 4.7
NCAA Tournament 6 14.2 6.1
Per 30 minutes Games AST TO
Season 39 1.7 2.5
Ranked Teams 9 0.9 2.9
NCAA Tournament 6 1.4 2.0

Aggressiveness in comparison to other big guys in the draft

Thomas Robinson is pretty aggressive when comparing to other big guys in this draft.  Take a look at the per 30 minute averages on aggressive statistics.   His field goal attempt average is the highest.  His free throw attempt average is second to Jared Sullinger but pretty close.  His assists and turnovers are second to Royce White, though Royce leads them by a wide margin.

Per 30 minutes FGA FTA AST TO
Thomas Robinson 12.5 5.8 1.7 2.5
Jared Sullinger 11.7 6.1 1.2 1.9
Royce White 9.2 5.7 4.8 3.6
Anthony Davis 7.9 4.8 1.2 1.0

Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

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