In advance of the 2018 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops will be breaking down prospects, both from the college ranks and internationally, with an eye toward what the Atlanta Hawks will be evaluating in the coming days. More than 50 prospects will be profiled in this space and, in the end, the goal is to inform Hawks fans prior to June 21, when the Hawks are scheduled to make four selections with the first 34 picks.
Today’s installment features Boston College guard Jerome Robinson.
In three years at Boston College, Jerome Robinson would help the Eagles dig out of two of the toughest seasons in recent history with an eye toward a respectable 2017-18 season. He scored more than 20 points per game last season, the best mark in the ACC, with solid efficiency. He is still figuring it out a bit defensively but has a nice frame and elite speed and quickness which could be a nice foundation upon which to grow his game on that end of the court.
Robinson has come out of nowhere to work his way into legitimate draft consideration. His only division 1 offer out of high school came from Boston College, a program that was returning just four upperclassmen and that would go on to go winless in the conference in their second season under head coach Jim Christian. He is also a potentially elite shooter with above average offensive creation skills for a player who is not a natural point guard.
Robinson uses an incredibly clean and repeatable shot to score with efficiency from the perimeter. He is more than willing to attack defenders that close out on him at the three point line with dribble penetration. He’s comfortable attacking the basket and is willing to embrace contact to get opportunities at the free throw line.
His play in the pick and roll does not really jump out at you. But statistically he is incredibly efficient. He produced 101 point on 97 possessions on pick and rolls that resulted in a shot opportunity (94th percentile). On plays that resulted in a shot or a pass to a shooter, he facilitated the production of 191 points on 194 possessions (80th percentile) which is a very nice mark for a player that is also strong off of the ball. In spot up situations he produced 169 points on 152 shooting possessions (84th percentile).
The one thing Robinson will need to clean up, through the prism of being trusted handling the basketball at the next level, is his dribble. It’s a little too high and sometimes gets too far from his body especially when a defender can speed him up a bit. But he has grown in the primary areas of offensive play so much over the last three seasons that it should be reasonable to expect him to be able to get that addressed.
On this play, he is lifting in an improvised dribble hand-off with his back court teammate Ky Bowman. He is an immediate threat to shoot the basketball, which is a skill NBA teams love to have in their wings. His footwork and release are incredibly fluid and quick.
Another skill Robinson possesses that NBA teams will love is his ability to shoot on the move. He gets his feet set and his hands ready before the ball arrives. This skill puts an immense amount of pressure on the weak side of the defensive formation.
It’s not common at the NCAA level to find an elite perimeter shooter that is also comfortable operating at the nail in the middle of the offensive formation. A lot of this action from him came against zone defenses but the Celtics are leading a move across the league that could result in more deployment of this defensive scheme.
Elite scorers love operating in this spot. He is comfortable probing for just enough space to get a quality look and isn’t bothered by the fact that the defensive help could come at him from any direction. It’s a little reminiscent of Devin Booker’s offensive style.
Robinson gets to a similar spot on this play versus a man-to-man look working in floppy-like action curling around the down screen. He demonstrates extreme confidence in his footwork looking for and finding the quality shot attempt. His play in this action is a little reminiscent of Justin Jackson.
On this play, he demonstrates his ability to hit a precise skip pass to the weak side corner. He slides into the dribble hand off action, gets the ball, two quick dribbles and the delivery is on time and on target.
He has learned how to move without the basketball with efficiency and purpose. Overplay him over a screen on the weak side or get just a little too casual with him and he will find a way to punish it. He’s a legitimate lob threat and has the ability to comfortably play above the rim.
Extend the pressure well beyond the three point line and he will attack in dribble penetration. This play is successful but it’s also a good example of how high his dribble can get at times. An average NBA defender will rip the ball unless he gets that tightened up.
This play might be representative of his best skill, his ability to hit perimeter shots after jab steps, pump fakes, step backs and side steps. A player that can keep his core strength in tact in all of those actions without having to completely reload is unique.
His best asset as a prospect on the defensive end of the court should be his defensive versatility. He should easily have the size (6’5 with a 6’7 wingspan), speed and quickness to defend at the point guard position with reasonable effectiveness. He also has the length, core strength and motor such that he could develop into a player that can defend all but the strongest wing scorers at the next level.
He does not create many defensive events (blocks, steals) as his frame would suggest but he has all of the raw skills that, assuming improved decision making, could allow him the possibility to grow into an impact defender.
Robinson needs just enough refinement on both ends of the court that he will likely need to spend some amount of time in the G League unless he is drafted by one of the five (or so) worst teams in the league. And he is already 21 years old. So that combination is likely what will have him drafted most likely in the second round, with the possibility (as displayed by some mock drafts) to slip into the first.
But that spot in the draft is where teams will be looking for upside. And his scoring prowess along with an increasingly well rounded offensive game could be attractive. He’s one to keep and eye on.