Michigan and Michigan State had five players taken in the 2014 NBA Draft: Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III, Gary Harris, and Adreian Payne. This series will look at how each player fits with their respective teams. Final Installment: Glenn Robinson III.
One thing is certain: the Minnesota Timberwolves have the best duo of rookies, at least in terms of show-stopping athleticism. Glenn Robinson III and former UCLA guard Zach LaVine are highlight reels in the making.
In fact, LaVine’s hops have overshadowed that of his contemporary. His 46 inch vertical and dunk show at the Seattle Pro-Am have given him numerous headlines recently. Never one for the spotlight, Robinson will want to remind people he can do things like this:
But people will eventually remember GR3’s athleticism. What he has to prove is the other areas of his game. He had a decent showing at the Summer League, averaging 6 points and 3 rebounds in three games. The Summer League isn’t the best indication of success, however, so there isn’t a lot to be read from his performance there.
Where Robinson fits on the roster is equally hard to predict. The landscape of the team could change drastically, due to superstar Kevin Love. The most common destination mentioned is the Cleveland Cavaliers, which would most likely bring shooting guard Andrew Wiggins to the Timberwolves. This isn’t the best news for Robinson, as Wiggins would be featured over him.
As it stands currently, the roster isn’t much better for Robinson. Robinson is projected to play anywhere from the 2 to the 4. Power forward isn’t really feasible, as Robinson’s 6’6 frame is probably too small for even small-ball lineups. Shooting guard and small forward are the most likely spots.
The problem is the gluttony of players the Wolves already have at the positions. Kevin Martin is the current starting shooting guard, and he just signed a four year deal, so he is pretty entrenched at the position. Corey Brewer is the small forward, and he just played the most minutes of his career. He didn’t contribute much more than 12 points and solid defense, so he may not be set in stone.
But the Timberwolves have five players backing up the wings. The small forwards are Shabazz Mohammed, Chase Budinger, and Robbie Hummel.The shooting guards are Alexey Shved and now LaVine.
Robinson has a lot better chance at breaking into the shooting guard position. After a solid rookie season, Shved had his minutes cut last season. It appears the Wolves want a better backup for Martin. The Wolves would even go with two point guard lineups of Ricky Rubio and JJ Barea, instead of giving Shved more options.
Robinson will play well with Rubio, one a master at moving off the ball and the other great at finding passing lanes. Despite his ability to read cuts with the best, Robinson is going to need to be more aggressive. He will never be a team’s top scorer or a high-usage player, but he needs to score in his capacity as a complimentary player. He has worked on his handle heavily this offseason, and he can get hot from deep.
LaVine is a player similar to Robinson. He is an efficient player inside the arc, and has a decent outside stroke. His leaping ability has already been covered. He appears to be Robinson’s main competition, unless Wiggins comes aboard.
Prediction: In order to make an impact, Robinson is going to have to prove he can score off the bench. He may be an undervalued asset for his ability to anticipate where a pass is heading. Whatever happens, look for GR3 and LaVine to unleash a few highlights in Minnesota.