Editor’s Note: Welcome to our 2020 Kings Season Preview series, where we’ll be looking ahead to what this season will bring for every member of this Sacramento roster and pondering both best and worst-case scenarios. Today, let’s continue with Glenn Robinson III.
How did he get here?
Glenn Robinson III ended last season with the 76ers as a lightly-used reserve and then suffered an injury in the bubble that kept him out of Philadelphia’s entire first-round series against Boston. That took some of the shine off Robinson after he began the year quite well with the Warriors. He had started all 48 of his games in Golden State, averaging 12.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per contest, before being traded to Philadelphia.
The Kings immediately demonstrated interest in Robinson at the start of free agency, and that’s what ultimately led him to sign with Sacramento despite other playoff teams reportedly pursuing him. He felt that the Kings were committed to him, and that’s what Robinson wanted at this point in his career after six seasons on five different teams.
It’s unclear how the Sacramento front office expressed their commitment to Robinson, because the contract he signed doesn’t exactly indicate that the Kings want him around for the long haul. Per reporting from Keith Smith, Robinson’s minimum deal is only guaranteed for $100,000. It becomes fully guaranteed at the league-wide cutdown date in February.
What is his best-case scenario for 2020-21?
Robinson slots in as a 3-and-D wing, allowing Harrison Barnes to move up to power forward and giving the Kings positional versatility and switchability. Despite a rough stint with the Sixers, Robinson resembles the shooter who hit at least 38 percent of his 3-pointers in three of the last four seasons, and he finds his ideal role as a gunner in a fast-paced offense. That makes him a useful spacer at both the two and three, and someone who can play the four in funky small lineups.
The Kings rookies lean on Robinson for veteran mentorship, like Robinson looked up to Cory Joseph when the two were in Indiana earlier in their careers. He proves to be a positive force in the locker room and an ideal role model for Tyrese Haliburton, Jahmi’us Ramsey, and Robert Woodard II, helping them learn how to be professionals in this expedited season. Robinson’s presence forces the rookies to work harder to earn minutes and raises the level of competition in practice and on the floor.
Having Robinson on the roster gives the Kings the freedom to trade some of their older veterans at the trade deadline (perhaps Joseph or Nemanja Bjelica), knowing that they have a young wing who wants to stay in Sacramento for the foreseeable future.
What is his worst-case scenario?
In his first media availability as a King, Robinson said that was free agency was “interesting” for him this year. Perhaps that means that he couldn’t find another team and settled for Sacramento, and the Kings quickly learn why the market for Robinson’s services was dry. The worst-case scenario for Robinson would be to disappoint in training camp — possibly due to lingering injuries — and then get cut before the start of the season. That isn’t a terrible outcome for the Kings, unless he latches on to another team and suddenly regains his form once he has left Sacramento.
Considering all Robinson has to do to earn a roster spot is beat out Chimezie Metu and Frank Kaminsky, it’s more than likely that Robinson starts the season with the Kings, so the Kings’ risk of that worst-case scenario is fairly minimal.
Robinson has been a quality wing throughout the last few seasons, not quite starter level, but worthy of filling out a rotation. His problem has been his health — he can’t seem to make it through a full season. He played 69 games in 2016-17, but since then has played in 23, 47, and 62 games each year. If he can’t be counted on to stay on the court, that could be why contending teams were leery of using one of their final roster spots on him.
Fortunately, the Kings don’t need Robinson. It would great if he panned out and solidified the small forward position for years to come, but that isn’t the expectation. The Kings are trying to build a culture, and Robinson is the perfect type of player to have in a locker room; he understands the business of the league, he is comfortable in any situation, and he wants to help pave the way for his younger teammates. If he succeeds as a mentor for the rookies, anything he provides on the court will be gravy.