Editor's Note: The 2012 NBA Draft is just around the corner, and that means it's time to start looking at this year's prospects. We've enlisted the help of a couple of our community's top draftnicks to break down as many prospects as possible from this year's class, whether they're high-lottery picks, potential first-round sliders or sleepers that could make an impact on a team from the second round. Today's profile: Kansas power forward beast and D.C. native Thomas Robinson, by qthaballa.
Expected draft position: Top 5
College career recap: After constantly impressing in limited minutes as a sophomore playing behind the Morris twins, Robinson had a breakout junior campaign that saw him challenge for National Player of the year honors. He went from being a bench contributor to leader and best player on a team that advanced to the NCAA championship game and lost to a juggernaut Kentucky team rife with NBA-ready talent.
Junior season stats: 17.7PPG/ 11.9RPG/ 1.8APG/ 1.1SPG/ 0.9BPG/ .505 FG%/ .500 3PT% (7-14)/ 68.2 FT%
Best attributes: In addition to having a very high motor (especially for a big), his far and away best attribute happens to be most valuable to this Wizards team: his rebounding. Robinson finished second nationally in rebounds per game and first in defensive rebound percentage. He has the size to hold ground when boxing out and the athletic ability to go up and grab those available rebounds both in and out of his immediate area. Don't feel like I'm underselling his game by only mentioning his rebounding, but it's basically to add emphasis to the fact that Robinson's biggest strength directly correlates with (arguably) the Wizards biggest weakness as a team: defensive rebounding.
Biggest weakness: His offensive game is far from finished. He isn't very skilled and tends to rely on brute force and athleticism to get things done. He will, naturally, struggle at times when matched up against someone who can match him in that regard. Also, one of the more overlooked knocks on his game is he doesn't protect the rim as well as you would expect someone with his size and athleticism. He averaged less than a block per game on the season and only had 1 block the entire NCAA tournament. ONE.
Why he'd fit in D.C.: REBOUNDS! The need is clear, as the Wizards manage the fifth-lowest amount of defensive rebounds per game and give up the third-most offensive rebounds per game. At worst, Robinson comes in and helps finish off defensive possessions, which is huge because it would also ignite more fastbreaks. The Wizards are also fifth-worse in the league at getting to the free-throw line, and Robinson got to the FT line 6.7 times a game and converted at almost 70 percent. This will help a Wizards team that struggles creating offense in the halfcourt.
Why he might not: Redundancy. It's not just the fact the Wizards don't have a huge need at the position, it's also the fact Robinson brings much of what the Wizards already have (high motor, unpolished offensively, unreliable jumper), save for the rebounding. He's laterally quick for a PF but doesn't have the ball-handling skills to do much outside the paint, so floor spacing may suffer.
Verdict: The D.C native comes with loads of energy, high character and unquestionable mental toughness, playing through injuries and the death of his mom and both grandparents. An explosive rebounder that can run the floor and finish on the break with a steadily improving all-around game, he will make an impact on the game most nights, even when he's struggling to put the ball in the rim. He was held to 2-12 shooting against a tough Purdue squad in the NCAA Tournament, but still contributed 13 rebounds and two steals in that win).
The Wizards do have more pressing needs on the perimeter, though, and you can argue that Bradley Beal is the better fit while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the better player. That said, draft position hasn't been determined and Thomas Robinson is someone that has to be considered, regardless of the team's current roster outlook.