Where will Thomas Robinson end up? If you’re a Kansas basketball fan, that was the question of the day — wasn’t it?
Robinson, KU’s unanimous All-American, was decked out in a purple bow tie on Wednesday night as he watched the NBA Draft lottery in person in New York.
Even by made-for-television-event standards, the draft lottery has become a little shark-jumpy in the past couple years, with The Bachelor-esque music and vibe … and the awkward interviews with all the team representatives. Still, if you’re a fan of the New Orleans Hornets, or the Charlotte Bobcats, or any other woebegone NBA franchise, this is pretty much the most important night of the offseason.
And for Robinson, who has an opportunity to go in the top three on draft night, this was something close to that — a chance to finally see which teams will have first crack at making you an instant millionaire on draft night.
The New Orleans Hornets, who had the fourth-best chance (13.7 percent) of landing the first overall pick, lucked into the No. 1 spot, likely winning the opportunity to draft Kentucky freshman center Anthony Davis.
But then there’s Robinson, a player who will certainly be able to stake his claim as the second-best player in the draft with a solid month of workouts.
Where will Robinson end up? We’ll know for sure on June 28. But for now, here are four possible destinations:
Charlotte Bobcats, second pick:
Michael Jordan’s historically bad Bobcats will draft second — and they will have plenty of options: Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Florida’s Brad Beal, maybe even UConn’s Andre Drummond. But Charlotte could definitely use a potential All-Star power forward. (Let’s face it, the Bobcats could use everything.) Consider: Here’s a few of the power forwards on Charlotte’s roster: Bismack Biyombo, Tyrus Thomas and Eduardo Najera.
Washington Wizards, third pick:
When the Wizards were slotted into the No. 3 pick, this seemed like the perfect match. Robinson could return home to D.C. and catch lob passes from Wizards point guard John Wall. And Washington would have a homegrown talent to market to a weary fan base. There could be worse situations.
Cleveland Cavaliers, fourth pick:
Here’s another team with a possible All-Star point guard (Kyrie Irving). But remember, the Cavaliers did use a first-round pick last year on Texas power forward Tristan Thompson, who shares a similar skill set with Robinson.
Sacramento Kings, fifth pick:
If Robinson falls to No. 5 — and let’s be honest, it’s hard to know what his stock will be on June 28 — this could be an intriguing landing spot. The Kings, who finished 22-44 last season, have a young core of Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, DaMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas and Jason Thompson.
There is, of course, one more question surrounding Robinson’s future: How good can he be? A future All-Star? A solid starter on a playoff team? A slightly undersized four who will have to rely on his motor to be productive?
Last week, Kansas coach Bill Self compared Robinson to Paul Millsap, a smallish power forward for the Utah Jazz. Millsap averaged 16.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game this season — mostly because he is freakishly strong and relentless on the glass. These, of course, are some of the same characteristics one might use to describe Robinson. And it’s probably safe to say that, no matter where Robinson ends up, these skills will be there, ready to be used against NBA opponents.
| Rustin Dodd, firstname.lastname@example.org