Name: Jerome Robinson
Years in NBA: 2
Position: Shooting Guard
Key Stats: 3.7 points, 1.2 assists, and 13.6 minutes per game with 34.7/29.8/69.0 shooting splits. Started one game in 42 appearances with the Clippers in 2019-20.
Robinson played 1,068 minutes across one and one-partial season with the Clippers, which isn’t a lot but also isn’t not a lot. Because of both injuries and a number of blowouts birthing meaningless fourth quarters, Robinson got some chances, which is more than many fans would say about young players coached by Doc Rivers. Robinson appeared frequently enough, and if he didn’t appear more frequently or for longer stretches, he probably has only his own lack of production to blame.
And eventually, Robinson did this:
Of course, Jerome Robinson didn’t do that for the Clippers, he did it for the Washington Wizards, and that’s the ultimate story here. On February 6, shortly before the NBA trade deadline, Robinson was traded for Isaiah Thomas. The Clippers waived Thomas and ended Robinson’s brief and uneventful tenure with the Clippers.
Robinson looks like he belongs, for what it’s worth. He processes the game quickly enough and is generally where he’s supposed to be, relative to his level of experience of course. He displays a certain intangible comfort level. His presence isn’t beyond his years, but it’s sufficient. Most of the time he’s on the floor, he fits.
Also, in a mild surprise given some pre-draft comparisons to noted matador Kevin Martin, Robinson is serviceable (or better) at the defensive end. He’s both long enough and fluid enough for a guard/wing, and that he held his own on the Clippers’ side of the court is testament to his aforementioned level of awareness. His relative reliability there was the likely reason he got what opportunities he did. (I can’t imagine his premium draft position hurt, though.) If Robinson had been a traffic cone, he’d have rarely left the bench.
If there is one part of Robinson’s offensive game thats fine-ish, it’s his passing. In a similar offensive role, Robinson’s assist ratio bettered that of Landry Shamet, and Shamet has experience backing up point guards. (Well, in college.) Robinson turns it over too frequently but his moderate playmaking is more evidence that he sees the game well enough.
Almost any scoring statistic you can quantify. Seriously, look at Robinson’s box score lines. Actually don’t, at least not after a meal. 28.4% three-point conversion rate on 67 tries for the Clippers this season. 30.4% on 161 attempts over two seasons. 42.4% on all career two-pointers. It’s a good job he doesn’t get to the free-throw line because he’s made just 26 (68.4%) of 38 career tries from the stripe.
Look, if I could code I would put a small sample-size warning in dancing red letters here, but for a guy who was billed as a three-level scorer, it would be nice to see him achieve an average mark at even one. Robinson’s offensive numbers aren’t just bad, they’re a bear attack at the site of a head-on train crash. So far, he has really struggled to put the ball in the bucket.
At just 23 years old, Robinson’s NBA ultimate legacy hasn’t yet been finalized, but unfortunately, the Clippers’ return on their investment has. Acting as salary ballast in a transaction that netted Marcus Morris but cost two more draft picks and a possible-if-unlikely pick swap is suboptimal compensation for a player who was a lottery choice just 18 months prior.
Personally, I’m guardedly optimistic about Robinson’s career prospects. There is time for Robinson to correct his shooting woes, and his draft status and defense will afford him more opportunities than your average end-of-bench guy. Make the most of them and maybe find a mid-career renaissance like Jeremy Lamb. Make the least and be the answer to a trivia question, namely, “With the 13th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, who did the Clippers select over Michael Porter, Jr.?”