Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan
What can NBA teams make of Michigan swingman Glenn Robinson III? The son of the 1994 NBA Draft's first overall pick hasn't set himself apart from his peers the same way his dad did, and this Robinson is much more likely to be available near the end of the first round.
Still, there's a bunch of things that Robinson has going for him, and what's going to draw him the most looks from teams picking late in the first round or early in the second will be his athletic profile. He stands 6'7" with a 6'10" wingspan and a maximum vertical jump of 41.5 inches. He's a runner, a jumper, and one hell of a finisher:
What Robinson can already do with his athleticism is plenty fun to watch. He was a monster on fast breaks, leaking out and outrunning everyone else for dunks and alley-oops. In the half-court, he was effective in reading the floor to make timely backdoor cuts to the rim for those same looks at the rim. Once Robinson gets to the paint, few guys have the lift to match him.
But what NBA teams will ask themselves is what they can mold Robinson into from here. Explosive finishing ability is uncommon, fun and even valuable, but it doesn't create a NBA role on its own. Robinson has other pieces in his skillset that could indicate a future all-around or 3-and-D wing, but the edges aren't fully rounded out yet.
The most important skill for Robinson will be to improve his outside jumper to command more respect from opposing defenses as a perimeter player. He shot just 30.6% from deep last season, and he was prone to swaying and losing balance on his shot form when stretched beyond the three point line. The bright side is that his mechanics aren't too bad other than that, and he's already a solid shooter from midrange with a nice pull-up jumper to his game. There's room to grow.
And like with his jumper, there's building blocks for developing much of the rest of his eventual skillset. Defensively, Robinson does a pretty good job of staying in front of opponents. His length and quickness allow him to effectively cut off and keep up with ball-handlers. He just has to be more consistent with it, as players with a sharp first step or effective dribble moves could catch Robinson with his knees just a bit too straight, his arms down or simply too jumpy in his movements.
An interesting part of Robinson's game was his ability to create with the ball in his own hands, a far different task than being a dunker and a cutter. Even with teammates Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert replacing Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. as Michigan's most ball-dominant players, Robinson saw his percentage of team possessions used rise from 12.7% in 2012-13 to 17.5% last season, an indicator of the team's increased need in depth of options on offense.
When it came to directly producing offense with the ball, Robinson improved (adding the pull-up jumper is one example) but didn't really show significant upside. His first step is slow, his ball-handling is still subpar, and he's an underwhelming passer – Robinson had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 0.96. There's value in Robinson already having had time to develop a feel for playing with the ball in his hands in actual games, which gives teams something to work with going forward in developing him, but they'll have to establish dribbling and then the ability to find his teammates to fully unlock Robinson's potential as an Andre Iguodala-esque secondary ball-handler. It's not impossible, even if the odds aren't great.
Robinson's athleticism and varied tools will garner him a sniff from many teams, and likely the Grizzlies too at 22. He bears a few similarities to their second round pick from last year, Jamaal Franklin, mainly in their potential as all-around athletic players with the need to polish a variety of skills starting with the outside shot to be playable. There's no specific need for Robinson on the roster, and if he can't space the floor, these Grizzlies probably won't play him.
With that said, the Grindson's no sure bet to pan out and Robinson represents another possible bet for the Grizzlies to get that Swiss knife guy who can function as a do-a-bit-of-everything guy. There's potential for Robinson to be able to defend multiple positions, especially if he adds strength, while still maintaining an identity as a runner and jumper that grows even stronger with an outside shot. Players of that mold can be very helpful as role players, as James Johnson proved last season.