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Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Thomas Robinson


  • Measurables: 6-foot-9, 237 pounds, junior F from Kansas
  • Key Stats: 17.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, .9 blocks per game while shooting 51 percent from the field
  • Projected: Top 5
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Why I’m intrigued by this guy

If the Pistons miraculously land the No. 2 pick in the draft during tomorrow night’s draft lottery, I have a hunch the choice for them will essentially boil down to Robinson or UConn’s Andre Drummond. While Drummond is the higher risk/higher reward prospect of the two, Robinson is a little bit older and a little less physically imposing than Drummond. Still though, if the Pistons lean towards Robinson, they’ll be getting a tough, smart and hard-working player who might eventually rival Ben Wallace in the weight room with his physique.

Pros for the Pistons

Robinson would be a great compliment to Greg Monroe up front simply because he’s almost a polar opposite. While Monroe is a highly skilled largely finesse player at this point in his career, Robinson is the blue-collar brute the Pistons currently lack and sorely need if they’re going to ever get back to the tough, physical type of defensive basketball Lawrence Frank would like them to play.

Robinson was one of the best rebounders in the country, he’s a fantastic finisher in traffic and his offensive repertoire has quickly evolved from his sophomore season (when he was a role player) to his junior season (when he became a focal point of the Kansas offense). Robinson has skills that would help the Pistons immediately, but he also has enough upside to suggest that he could add even more to his game over the next few seasons.

Cons for the Pistons

The one skill Pistons fans are hoping for from any big man the Pistons land in the draft is shot blocking. Unfortunately, Robinson isn’t a big-time shot blocker. That doesn’t mean he’s bad defensively — he’s a solid individual defender and, like Monroe, has quick hands that allow him to come up with strips and steals.

He’s also a tad undersized — generously listed at 6-foot-9 — for his position. His athleticism and wingspan make up for that, and Wallace is certainly enough evidence that a strong, hard-working, athletic player can overcome a lack of height in the NBA post, but Robinson on the Pistons would probably fit best as a power forward, meaning fans hoping to see Monroe become more of a power forward than a center probably wouldn’t get their wish.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

Many scouts believe Robinson is one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft. What Robinson should provide right away are athleticism, toughness, an NBA-ready body and a motor that won’t quit on both ends of the floor. He’s been a monster rebounder for KU and is aggressive looking for his shot around the rim.

Robinson surprised scouts this year with his ball handling ability and a solid midrange jump shot. He’s not afraid to get the ball at the top of the key and create his shot there. His quickness for a player his size and his explosive leaping ability make him a formidable threat offensively down the road.


Robinson has also shown flashes of being able to catch the ball facing up and isolate his man at the elbow or in the mid-range area. He’s a very good ball-handler for a player his size and he’s able to utilize his quickness advantage on most opposing big man and get to the basket on straight line drives. He also does an excellent job using spin moves to change directions and get to the rim.


Robinson is one of the safer picks around the top of the draft … He has the tools and the work ethic to become an ideal pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop kind of power forward … Once Robinson polishes his post moves and jump shot, he should be a fixture in a team’s starting lineup for a long time.

Dana O’Neil, ESPN:

By now, almost everyone in college basketball knows Robinson’s heart-wrenching story. He lost his beloved grandmother and grandfather in the span of three weeks.

Then, five days after his grandfather’s passing — on Jan. 21, 2011 — his mother, Lisa, died unexpectedly, leaving Robinson, in the midst of his sophomore season at Kansas, in charge of his 9-year-old sister, Jayla, who lived half a country away.

Were that the end of the story, had Robinson’s tale stopped at Lisa’s gravesite, with the heartbreaking picture of Jayla wrapped around her brother’s waist, this would be a tragedy.

Instead, the final chapters are a long way from being written, and Robinson, once the brave figure who played in a game the day after Lisa died, is a hero.

What is the best thing Thomas Robinson does for his team?

Kevin Hetrick of Cavs: The Blog:

Robinson’s size, strength & skills, combined with athleticism and intensity make him a can’t miss.  He’ll play hard, rebound, and provide some offense immediately, while ideally continuing to expand his post game and add range to his jumper.



  • May 29, 201211:25 am
    by Cliff


    robinson > drummond. and personally would absolutely LOVE this guy to join us. knowing that it will be impossible for us to get davis, this is the guy we need to pick up in this draft.

    • May 29, 201211:54 am
      by Patrick Hayes


      “knowing that it will be impossible for us to get davis, this is the guy we need to pick up in this draft.”

      Well, if it’s going to be impossible to get Davis, it’s only going to be very slightly more possible to get Robinson. Their chances at No. 1 (1.7%) are nearly equal to getting pick two (2.0%) or three (2.4%).

      • May 29, 20123:15 pm
        by Tom Y.


        Maybe he meant via trade, no one will trade the 1st pick in this draft but someone may trade the 2nd or 3rd. Not that we have much to offer for it that I’d be willing to part with. But if someone with the 2nd/3rd were willing to trade picks for someone who isn’t Moose, it could be worth considering. Alternately, If we were to amnesty BG, maybe we could absorb someone’s bad salary and swap picks in return. Though I’m not sure if that’s possible.

        • May 29, 20123:28 pm
          by tarsier


          If I were Dumars, I would consider offering Monroe+9th pick+Jerebko or some such package for Davis. He will be a star but could give the Pistons another year or two of high draft picks. Then, when they are talented enough to be thinking playoffs again, most of the bad contracts should come off the books and they can go sign someone good.

          • May 29, 201211:58 pm
            by Chris H

            That’s a whole lot to offer for one pick.  You’re talking about two players who are very much loved by the fanbase.  Davis would have to come into the league just smoking in order for people to be happy with that.  I agree Detroit should swing for the fences, but that would be a whole lot of pressure for one man to come into.  I’m not sure I’d want to set Davis up like that.  He might be completely worth it, but I’m not sure you can sell fans that you’re trying to rebuild and trading away two potential pieces who have proven themselves through two NBA seasons.

  • May 29, 201211:33 am
    by KRIS


    Watching Robinson, I had an impression, he is rather poor help defender, too often being caught in no man’s land. Maybe he was preserving his energy for the offensive end and it was designed by Bill Self … Still great player, that would lift us immediately and could improve his game going further.

  • May 29, 20123:24 pm
    by Tom Y.


    Definitely 2nd on my list, though MKG is close. But for complementing Monroe upfront, I’d take him. That would also push JJ to play more minutes at 3. Along with Knight and Stuckey, that lineup should rebound really well and has the potential to defend pretty well too, even though nobody’s an elite defender.

    • May 30, 20121:01 am
      by Max


      I’m with you although I’d take Drummond third.

  • May 29, 20123:34 pm
    by Mark


    I have no interest in Robinson and glad he’s being propped up so high by all the experts, because he’s one more pick to knock down one of the guys I do want to us.

    6-8, avg 17-11 for 1 yr, it makes no sense at all to me why he gets projected as a top 3 pick, yet Sullinger posted the same numbers 2 yrs running and is about the same height, yet in some mocks is not even a top 10 pick.
    idk if Sullinger will ever be an all-star, but I feel pretty confident saying Robinson won’t have any better of a career. If I could compare their careers to current NBA players, I’d compare Sullinger to Zach Randolph and Robinson to David West. Is there really any big difference in thise guys’ careers? Not in my opinion. If you can get the same value in Sullinger at 9 that you can get in Robson at 3, I’d say thats great value, and if I had a choice between Randolph and West in their prime, I’d want Randolph anyways.

  • May 29, 20128:01 pm
    by sop


    Tom Robinson! How could you Kill this Mockingbird!

  • May 29, 20128:22 pm
    by sop


    very tough choice between Drummond, MKG and Robinson at 2 or 3. Probably won’t have to make these decisions but given Robinson’s ceiling due to physical limitations I’d have to go:
    1. Drummond
    2. MKG
    3. Robinson

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