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Wizards 2019-20 season preview: Is Justin Robinson ready to be the Wizards’ backup point guard?

The undrafted free agent has stumbled upon an opportunity to become the Wizards’ primary backup point guard, but is he up to the task?

NBA: Washington Wizards-Media Day Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Growing up in Manassas, VA, just outside of Washington DC, Justin Robinson’s family were season ticket holders of the Washington Wizards. After a successful college career at “local” university, Virginia Tech, Robinson has the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to contribute to the rebuilding of his childhood team. Interestingly enough, he will join Justin Anderson, whom he was also teammates with at Montrose Christian School, as two potential contributors for the Wizards this season.

2018-19 Season at Virginia Tech

Robinson spent all four years at Tech, averaging 13.5 ppg on 47 percent shooting from the field, 42 percent from 3 while also averaging 5 assists per game in his Senior year. Robinson was the starting point guard on a very talented team for Coach Buzz Williams who made it all the way to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament before being eliminated by Duke this past season.

In that game, Robinson came off the bench, as it was only his third game returning after a left foot injury that sidelined him 12 games. He played a critical role in that game, in which Tech were in control for much of the game, contributing 14 points and 5 assists off the bench before ultimately losing the game.

Robinson’s college career did not produce eye popping results, but he was a solid leader for Buzz Williams’ teams and their high profile run in the NCAA tournament this past season created a buzz (no pun intended) for Robinson as a potential draft pick in the NBA draft this past season, but ultimately he was not selected.

What He Could Contribute in 2019-20

Robinson was picked up as an undrafted free agent and signed a three year deal with the Wizards this off-season. Before you get too excited, his first year is only partially guaranteed, while the other two years are not guaranteed. So it’s very possible that Robinson does not stick on this roster, but because of the recent injury to Isaiah Thomas, the possibility of Robinson staying has increased significantly.

Unfortunately Robinson’s stock was not high as a draft pick in part because of his lack of size. At 6’2”, he is on the smaller end for point guards in the NBA. He does not possess explosive athleticism so he largely relies on his skills. The southpaw has some decent ability as a play-making point guard, but he leans more towards being a shoot-first guard as opposed to a traditional pass-first point guard. The Wizards have not had the best history with point guards with this type of skill set during Scott Brooks tenure as coach (i.e. Austin Rivers, Ramon Sessions, Trey Burke).

For Robinson to stick on the roster, he will need to show an ability to be able to get the Wizards in their offensive sets consistently to make things easier for the players who lack the ability to be shot creators. He will also need to show an ability to not being a liability on the defensive end. With John Wall on the shelf, even once Isaiah Thomas returns from his injury, Robinson potentially could be the tallest point guard on the roster for the whole season, so his ability to defend, particularly some of the larger point guards will help him to carve out a role on the roster.

Robinson has an uphill climb to be a fixture on the Wizards roster, but the potential of him playing for his childhood team, has to be a big motivator. With Isaiah Thomas’ injury, he may get his chance, but will he stick with this team? That remains to be seen.