The next time forward Devin Robinson takes the court, likely this July for the Wizards' summer league team in Las Vegas, he will do so with a noticable difference in his game. After playing most of his life with a low shot release point, the Wizards coaching staff has overhauled his mechanics in recent months, hoping to give Robinson a better chance at success in the NBA.
It's not really about Robinson's ability to make shots. He demonstrated at the University of Florida he could knock it down from long range, improving his three-point percentage in each of his three seasons as a Gator. He topped out at 39.1 percent as a junior on 3.1 attempts per game, a solid trajectory and especially for a 6-foot-8 forward.
That carried over into his time this season in the G-League. Robinson shot 38.1 percent on 3.5 attempts through 44 games in 2017-18.
The reason why the Wizards changed his shot is because his release point made it too easy for opponents to defend him. They want Robinson to release the ball above his head and shoot with more of an arc, while hopefully maintaining the same shooter's touch.
It's one thing to have a low release point in college, but in the NBA it's much more difficult to shoot over bigger and more athletic players. Robinson understands that, but noted it has not been an easy process learning how to shoot a different way at 23 years old.
"It's been stressful, frustrating some days," he said. "You're used to making all of these shots shooting your way, and then find out it's the wrong way and you try to work on it. And then, you start missing all of a sudden. It's frustrating, but I trust the coaches, trust the process and I just keep working at it. I'm gonna figure it out."
Robinson is enough a student of the game to know some famous cases of low release points. He can mimic Shawn Marion, who shot from about chest-high, and Stephen Curry, who shoots slightly lower than most. Some guys have made it work with lower release points, but Robinson knows his odds of carving out a long career in the NBA are better if he adjusts his motion.
Robinson hopes that future is with the Wizards, the team he grew up rooting for. If that is the case, he would likely be on their inaugural G-League team, the Capital City Go-Gos, who begin play this fall.
Robinson believes having the G-League affiliate nearby will make it much easier for Wizards prospects to develop. He spent most of his time in the G-League this season with the Delaware 87ers and had a brief stint with the Westchester Knicks.
"It was challenging for me because I was in a whole other state, whole different organization. I had to learn their plays and it's much different from what it is here," he said.
Robinson had a Wizards assistant, Alex Graves, assigned to work with him in the G-League and he kept in contact with director of player development David Adkins. They would talk after every game and when Robinson was in D.C., Adkins would work closely with him. Adkins was integral in revamping Robinson's shooting motion.
Aside from the challenges of being away from the team, Robinson felt his rookie year went well. He played with a two-way contract in the first year of the NBA's system of two-way deals.
The Wizards began the season with two two-way players, but only held on to Robinson. He plans to prove that was a smart decision.
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