Shapan Debnath: C+
I still don’t know what to expect from Jerome Robinson. By all accounts he seems like he should be a 6th man type scorer, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t going to keep an eye on some of the picks that went after him. As of now it’s hard for me to think of him as anything but that off the bench scorer until he proves me otherwise. Not the worst thing for a pick in that range, but it would be a pleasant surprise if he exceeded that expectation for him. If he comes below it, it would be a huge bummer.
Robert Flom: C-
If I’d given this pick a draft-day grade, it would have been a lot lower. I am a bit higher on Jerome than I was in the days leading up the draft and in the immediate aftermath, mostly because I believe his shooting ability is legitimate, and outside shooting remains perhaps the most sought-after trait in the NBA today. If Jerome can shoot, and I believe he will, then it’s easy to see him finding a role in the NBA of some kind.
I’m willing to overlook not drafting Michael Porter Jr. Look, the guy is supremely talented, and if he can stay healthy, he might make a bunch of teams look very stupid for passing on him. Still, he was a red flag medically, and has already undergone another surgery, throwing even more doubt on his future playing career. Perhaps more significantly for the Clippers, there are innumerable stories about Porter being a poor teammate and possessing a subpar personality, and the Clippers are looking for only high-character players.
Even outside Porter Jr., however, there were several players who I liked significantly more than Robinson. Zhaire Smith and Troy Brown Jr. were taken in the mid-teens, and I think both players (who are two years younger than Jerome) possess a higher upside than Robinson. More importantly, I think both guys fill archetypes (versatile wings who can switch defensively) that have greater value in today’s NBA than volume scoring. Jerome could absolutely prove me wrong. He has a knack for scoring and shooting the ball, and those talents never go out of fashion. Still, I can’t help but think the Clippers reached for him.
Kenneth Armstrong: B-
Had you asked me to grade this pick on draft night, I likely would have assigned a C or lower. With all of the guards already on the Clippers’ roster -- including SGA, who got drafted just the pick before -- drafting another guard just didn’t seem to make sense. Then, we got a glimpse of his ability to score; first through college highlights, then through the Summer League.
He can shoot, obviously, but he also moves like an-NBA ready player, which is just as useful as of a metric as Summer League shooting percentage, in my opinion. I also like that he’s not short: After years of Eric Bledsoe, Chris Paul, and now Lou Williams, I was happy to see the Clippers draft two taller, longer players in SGA and Robinson. This at least means that his defensive deficiencies have hope to be reversed and he can lean on athleticism in the meantime. And I am encouraged by what Katie Bent, a staff writer at BC Interruption, had to say on our site: “The size, intelligence, and work ethic are all there for him; I would be surprised if he didn’t turn into a decent NBA defender.”
I look forward to seeing Jerome get minutes with Pat Beverly and/ or Avery Bradley, who are defensive minded guards who balance out Jerome’s skills well. I think he’ll earn modest minutes and be a long-term investment that pays off, if/when the Clippers can land a superstar, who produces in the six-man role.
Michelle Uzeta: B+
Like many, I was surprised the Clippers selected Jerome Robinson with the 13th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The late-rising Robinson was not on my radar at all. Who is this kid? Why are the Clippers passing on Michael Porter Jr.? So. Many. Questions! The more I’ve learned about Robinson, however, the more content I am with the pick. #TrustTheLogo
Robinson is an instant-offense combo guard and impressed during summer league. In the three games in which he played, Robinson averaged 13.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists in just under 24 minutes. Over the course of his three preceding seasons at Boston College, Robinson averaged 17.7 points on 45% shooting, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. His final season he averaged 20.7 points per game on an impressive 48.5% from the field and 40.9% from deep. Jerome is skilled at creating shot opportunities for himself, is able to facilitate other’s scoring by spreading the floor, and is deadly both off the catch and off the dribble from multiple locations on the court. If he works hard and stays healthy, the quick shooting Robinson has the potential to earn his way into a starting 2-guard or 6th man position for Los Angeles.
Of concern, Robinson can be a little loosey-goosey with his handles, resulting in turnovers. Against some of the more elite (or even non-elite) defenders in the league, this may be problematic. Size may also be an issue. Robinson definitely has length, standing 6’5” and boasting a 6’7” wingspan, however at just over 180 pounds he does not appear equipped to deal with the physicality of the NBA quite yet. He seemed to have some difficulty finishing through contact during summer league match-ups; bulking up could benefit his game. Robinson also needs to work on his defense. Despite having the length, quickness, and versatility to guard multiple positions, he has a history of slow rotations and inconsistent effort. Despite these issues, and for Robinson’s scoring punch alone, I give this pick up a B+.
Eric Patten: C-
There are a lot of things to dislike about the selection of Robinson with the Clippers’ second lottery pick at No. 13. First, he wasn’t slotted as a surefire top 20 pick, so the value in the late lottery was subpar. To some extent, if you love a guy then take him, but it seems like trading down would have still netted them Robinson and something a little extra (see two second rounders to Charlotte to move up one slot). Second, there are somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen guards on the Clippers roster (a slight exaggeration counting the guy they picked ahead of him). If you were going to pick someone who wouldn’t play, then why not take a flyer on Michael Porter Jr.? At one point, prior to his back issues, Porter was a lock for a top 3 pick, and with a second lottery pick it seemed predetermined as an opportunity to take a high-ceiling gamble. Finally, Lonnie Walker IV was selected by the Spurs five picks later. Enough said.
Lucas Hann: B-
Look, I’m no professional scout, and I’ll happily be wrong if proven so, but I think the Clippers probably could have done better at 13 than Jerome Robinson. There was a whole tier of wing players available after Shai and Miles Bridges went at 11 and 12, and the Clippers had their pick of the lot. We’ll accept that the team was firmly against taking Michael Porter Jr., but given that, did they pick the consensus top guy? No, they picked a guy who was viewed either at the low end of the group, or not in that group at all. Zhaire Smith, Lonnie Walker, Donte DiVincenzo, Kevin Huerter, Troy Brown, Grayson Allen, Josh Okogie--all SG/SF players picked from 15-21, along with a host of other wings in the back end of the first round. Odds are that someone from that group is going to end up being a high-end starter of All-Star, and even though most people seemed to agree that Smith and Walker were the top two of that group, nobody was really sure which of these guys was going to end up being the mid-teens diamond in the rough. We won’t know for years to come. All we know at this point is the Clippers had their first crack in this tier, and took the guy they liked the most. It’s hard to be too critical of that strategy.