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LA Clippers 2019-2020 Player Previews: Jerome Robinson

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The Clippers second-year lottery pick has demonstrated an ability to score and make plays, but can he do so consistently, and can he do enough else on the court?

NBA: Preseason-Shanghai Sharks at Los Angeles Clippers Steven Erler-USA TODAY Sports

Basic Information

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 190 pounds

Position: Shooting guard

Age: 22

NBA Experience: 1 year

Key Stats: In 33 games played, averaged 3.4 points, 1.2 rebounds, 0.6 assists, and 0.3 steals in 9.7 minutes per game, shooting 40% from the field, 31.6% from three, and 66.7% from the line.

Contract Status: Signed to regular 1st round rookie deal, making $3,567,720 this season and team options for slight increases the following two seasons.

Expectations

Jerome Robinson is in an interesting place right now. Picked 13th in a stacked draft just last summer, Jerome didn’t get many opportunities to play his rookie season, buried by a deep roster and his own unreadiness. On the surface, this year doesn’t look a whole lot more promising for Jerome. Even after a strong summer (according to everyone associated with the team), there’s not really a place in the rotation for him. Second-round rookie Terance Mann has already surpassed him on the depth chart, and there are plenty of other guards who need minutes as well. While Jerome will presumably get a true shot in a regular role at some point (due to injuries, team needs, etc.), minutes are certainly not guaranteed.

However, when Jerome does take the court this season, expectations are that he will help the team win games. The training wheels are off – this team is aiming for a championship, and there is no longer the luxury to wait on younger players. If Jerome doesn’t produce, the coaching staff will play someone who does. Now, on the court, Jerome will need to hit shots, make plays as a secondary or tertiary ballhandler, and not be a liability on defense. If he can hold to that general (and not extremely taxing) standard, he will be fulfilling his part on this team.

Strengths

Jerome can score. He has a sweet looking shot, the size to get it off, and the ball-handling ability to create space for himself. The outside shot isn’t all the way around yet (at least results-wise), but Jerome is already a threatening option as a floor-spacer who defenses have to respect. As a playmaker, Jerome has flashed some real talent at finding cutters and big men under the basket, utilizing that height to see over the defense and make plays. He gives effort on defense, and there are moments where he looks like he could be a plus on that end, as he has the physicality and lateral quickness to stick with guys on the perimeter and bother slashers on drives to the hoop.

Weaknesses

For all that sheer scoring talent, Robinson hasn’t yet found a way to translate it into efficiency. To be fair, he never got much a chance to find a rhythm last year, and it’s hard to take much away from Summer League or preseason. But Robinson’s struggles in getting to the line and finishing around the rim due to lack of explosion are worrying, even for a still-developing young player. While there are signs that Jerome could be a plus defender and passer in time, there are still too many stretches where he doesn’t make any imprint on the game if he’s not shooting. Jerome clearly tries, works, and plays hard, but he hasn’t found a way to do the “little things” on a basketball court that can make a fringe rotation player stand out. Once he can start contributing consistently even on nights when his shot isn’t falling, Jerome will truly have a place in a good team’s rotation.

Jerome Robinson has promise, and could fill a niche on this Clippers team as a scoring guard and ballhandler off the bench to supplement Lou Williams and Terance Mann. There are weaknesses to iron out, but he’s looked better in preseason than he has in his prior NBA or Summer League experience, and that bodes well for the season to come. Hopefully, Jerome can find his shooting stroke and maintain his confidence throughout the long season and any slumps that come along the way.