Yesterday we posted part 1 of my conversation with Robert Flom of 213Hoops, to go over what went wrong with Jerome Robinson in Los Angeles with the Clippers, and what we might expect from him here. We left off with Rob doubling back on me and asking if I felt Robinson could be a true lead ball handler type or is his ceiling more combo guard/6th man. The rest of our Q&A is below!
Osman Baig: It’s too early for me to have a strong opinion either way and I hope the 29 games post All-Star Weekend give us a hint of that. That 6th man/combo guard role is likely what they hope Robinson can develop into.
Assuming the reports are true that he was at or near the top of their draft board in 2018, they had a good grasp of what he was – an on ball player. At his size sure, he may have been able to give them a few minutes at the three but he all along projected more as a combo guard/ microwave scorer behind their max back-court.
The role for a versatile offensive player with on ball skills is there for the taking on this team and has been for years. Even if John Wall comes back and resembles his old self, it would be wildly optimistic to assume he can play 82 games. Ish Smith is the only backup point guard under contract next season.
A way too early look at next year’s bench, Ish Smith aside, includes players like Davis Bertans, Troy Brown Jr., and possibly Garrison Mathews; players who aren’t on ball players or in Troy’s case, a player who can handle the basketball but not as a shot creator yet. The role for Robinson to be a player they play through is there and opportunity at either guard position is available.
Did you get to watch him in the - League very much? Based on what you saw at that level, did he give any hints that he could eventually evolve into that role? Big picture, if you had to take a position right now, a year from now is Robinson a productive rotation player of the Wizards?
Robert Flom: I didn’t watch him in the G-League very much, but his stats there were promising. Really, the only stat worth focusing on is his 40.7 percent mark from three-point range on 7.2 attempts per game, a far cry from the hesitant, brick-inducing shooting that he’s displayed in the NBA so far. And, at some level, that three-point shooting will determine everything. The G-League and college numbers would indicate a good to very good shooter, someone who can hit shots in a variety of ways. He just hasn’t looked like that at the NBA level yet.
If I had to take a stand, I’d probably lean a little towards the “productive player” side. While I think he was a massive reach at 14 in a stacked draft, his improvements defensively this year have been huge, and if he can hit even 34 percent of his threes (with his non-NBA experience showing this as a lower end value) while maintaining that defense, he should be a nice bench player.
The Wizards are a good fit in that they aren’t all that good right now, and have few players locked into their core going forward. If Jerome gets minutes I think he could contribute next year as a solid 9th or 10th man on a decent team.
Osman: Robert, I really appreciate you taking the time. One last question for you; I follow you on social media and have seen you tweet that the Wizards are fun watch. The Wizards are not a good team, but their energy and enthusiasm has made them a much more likable and fun squad than the team’s we have had the past two years. From the ultimate confidence of Bertans, the “Latvian Laser,” to the energy of Moe Wagner and Thomas Bryant, and to the speed of Ish Smith, this group has personality and plays entertaining basketball.
What are your thoughts on the team and give us something not related to the Xs and Os that Robinson might add to the group.
Robert: Thanks for reaching out! It’s been fun to do this over the past few days. The Wizards have been a favorite of mine since I started college, back when NBA League Pass had the “5 team” option.
With a young John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards promised to be one of the most fun teams in the league, and I watched them quite frequently over the next few years. Even as the Wiz faded and I got the full 30 team version of LP, I continued to watch more than a fair share of Wizards ball.
This is probably the most fun they’ve been since that 2016-2017 year, with guys like Davis Bertans, Troy Brown Jr., and Mo Wagner having breakout seasons. The Wizards’ defense is deplorable, but their racetrack style of play is entertaining, and the players on the team are quite likable.
Jerome should fit in well with the Wizards’ current group. He’s young, he’s an enthusiastic presence on the bench, and he’s a fun chat in the locker room. I don’t know if anything particularly stands out about Jerome off the court (outside of his scary resemblance to the Pokemon Master Brock), but he certainly won’t cause waves. One of the reasons why the Clippers drafted him is his work ethic - he’s always in the gym, grinding to get better, which should fit nicely with workout warriors like Wagner and Brad Beal.
He’s not super active on social media, but he’s good with fans, and was well-liked by Clips fans for the most part despite his disappointing tenure. Hopefully he turns his career around on the Wiz - Clippers fans will certainly be rooting for him to do so.
There you have it! The Wizards have a lot to learn about Robinson over the next couple of years. He was someone that their front office liked and as they kept an eye on him, they were able to slide on in when the Clippers and Knicks needed a third team to help facilitate their deal for Marcus Morris.
If everything plays out just right, the Wizards could see their low-risk, low-cost gamble pay off as their retooling (and now playoff contending!) season continues.