In a league full of freak athletes, Devin Robinson was one of the freakiest for the Wizards in the 2018-19 season.
The guy jumps out of the gym — he’s a highlight dunk waiting to happen. He’s 6-foot-8, long, only 24 — and played for one of the worst teams in the NBA.
Yet he still couldn’t crack the rotation.
When the injuries began to pile up, Washington gave Thomas Bryant and Chasson Randle an opportunity to showcase themselves on the main roster. Bryant became the team’s starting center and was often the only bright spot the team had besides Bradley Beal. Randle proved to be a capable backup — someone who could maintain an offense and provide a spark off the bench when need be. At the end of the season, the team called Jordan McRae up after he led the league in scoring, and he earned a contract for next season too.
But for some reason, Robinson was left out. He stayed in the G-League for most of the season while players like Sam Dekker and Ron Baker, who weren’t expected to have long-term futures with the team, were given minutes instead.
It didn’t make sense at the time — but it does now.
In January, Robinson was suspended after he got into an altercation with Kamari Murphy of the Long Island Nets.
The altercation, while seemingly minor, didn’t sit well with the Wizards’ brass. Even when the team was out of playoff contention and opportunities for the young players became plentiful, Robinson racked up “DNPs” and didn’t appear to be a part of the Wizards’ future plans.
In Washington’s final regular season game against the Boston Celtics, Robinson scored 14 points and made 7 of 10 field goal tries.
That was likely the last time he’ll ever wear a Wizards uniform.
Just four days after the game against Boston, Robinson was arrested for getting into a fight with Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills. Robinson was hospitalized — and shortly after, the team announced that it wouldn’t extend a qualifying offer, effectively ending his short tenure with the Wizards.
And what a shame.
Robinson had all the tools to become a productive player in the modern NBA. He moves well without the ball, is a constant lob-threat and responded well to being a first option for the Go-Go, averaging 20 points and 8 rebounds per game. Robinson was the face of the expansion franchise — and at some point, his upside would’ve become undeniable and the Wizards would’ve had to given him a chance, just like they did the others.
Now that chance might never come.
Robinson will likely have to work his way up the G-League ladder again, but it will have to be outside of the nation’s capital. Typically, when assessing a player, it would be easy to point out his inconsistency in 3-point shooting — he shot a career-low 30 percent from three in the G-League last year — but it goes beyond the court for Robinson.
For now, Robinson will join a long list of players who had unlimited potential in Washington, only to tarnish by making poor decisions.
That’s not to say that it’s all over for Robinson — but it’s going to be an uphill battle to repair his image. Mistakes happen, but mistakes of this magnitude stain reputations, and players in developmental stages have reputations that are more susceptible to scrutiny than others.