Last summer, the Mitchell Robinson Saga captured the imaginations of children and adults alike, as our great nation watched in awe while a high school kid chose a college and then changed his mind.
It was one of those “you’ll always remember where you were when...” events that this generation will cling to for decades to come.
Well, Robinson is about to re-enter our lives, and this time the former Western Kentucky commit is getting ready to play basketball for money.
The projected first-round pick returns with that same buzz and those glaring question marks from where we last left him. But despite all the noise and the hot takes (even from this here website), Robinson is still a damn good basketball player who has the talent to help an NBA team next season and beyond.
Most of what’s here (and in the weakness section below) is based on what Robinson did in high school, which was well over a year ago. So this may have changed, unbeknownst to us. But here’s what made him a five-star recruit and expected one-and-done prior to 2017-18: Robinson is an athletic beast who was a smart and effective shot blocker and monster rebounder. At times on the EYBL circuit, he showed the ability to dominate in the paint. According to DraftExpress, he’s also developed a bit of a shot and has some mid-range game. That’s not something I recall seeing from him at EYBL but, admittedly, my memory is garbage. It’s also clear that there’s plenty of room for Robinson to continue to develop. He can bulk up. He can benefit from some real coaching. He’s far from reached his limit.
We know about the off-the-court questions, but it remains to be seen exactly how much NBA teams will care about that. As far as his game goes, Robinson has some learning to do. He’s foul-prone and isn’t the most fundamental guy in the world. He was a solid defender when he overmatched the competition, but how will he fare against guys more athletic and in better shape than him? Heck, what kind of shape is he even in right now?
There’s a lot of buzz around Robinson going to the Lakers at No. 25 if he’s still on the board. There are even rumors that LA has promised to take him there. Whether or not those rumors are true, late in the First Round seems like a good bet for Robinson. Prior to last year, he was an expected lottery pick, and he still has the potential to play to that level. But being out of sight for over a year has added an element of the unknown, hurting his stock as others have passed him.