The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...
2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Mitchell Robinson
School: Western Kentucky (never played)
Max vertical: N/A
2017/18 stats: 25.7 ppg, 12.6 rpg, 0.5 apg, 1.8 spg, 6.0 bpg, 60 FG%, 28 3PT%, 59 FT% (high school)
Player comparison: Serge Ibaka/Nerlens Noel
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 25th, NBADraft.net 30th, Bleacher Report 30th, Sports Illustrated 26th
5 things to know:
*Robinson is one of the best athletes in this entire draft class. From a physical standpoint, there are few questions about his potential. He's over 7-feet tall, can jump and appears to have strong instincts to block shots and finish around the rim. He is a rare athlete on the level of DeAndre Jordan. But, as many guys have shown over the years, being good in the NBA has a lot more to it than just athleticism.
*There are some considerable red flags with Robinson. He did not play in college after committing to Western Kentucky. It was an unusual situation to begin with where he committed there because his godfather was hired to the staff. Then, once he got on campus, he decided he didn't want to play there.
*Before his college mishap, Robinson was one of the best recruits in the nation. He was a McDonald's All-American.
*Though high school numbers are unreliable when projecting NBA success, Robinson's free throw shooting would be a concern. He only shot 59 percent his senior year. That was over a year ago, so perhaps he's improved. But he wouldn't be the first big man who can't shoot free throws.
*Robinson skipped out on the NBA Combine after first saying he would go. That likely means he has a promise from someone in the first round.
Fit with Wizards: If the Wizards can overlook the inherent risk of drafting Robinson, he would fit them well positionally. He is an athletic big man who blocks shots and throws down lobs. John Wall could work wonders with a teammate like that.
If the Wizards see Robinson as a project, they could hold onto Marcin Gortat for one more year and bring Robinson along slowly. Or, they could use Ian Mahinmi as the starter while Robinson comes into his own.
The Wizards could absolutely use someone just like Robinson, at least in a vacuum. But they have to determine if he's worth the gamble because the bust potential seems high.
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