Glenn Robinson III didn’t get off to the best start in Philly. After scoring 10 points in his debut for the Philadelphia 76ers, he failed to score more than 6 points in any of the following seven games. His defense completely underwhelmed, he couldn’t hit a single three-pointer, and he complained about not understanding his role.
In Tuesday’s road game against the Los Angeles Lakers, a 120-107 loss, the Sixers got a taste of what Robinson has to offer offensively. He tied his career-high with 25 points, shooting 10-of-15 from the floor. And, after playing 132 minutes with the Sixers, he finally hit a three — he finished the game 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.
As will be the case with him moving forward (if he can stay out of his slump), Robinson did his damage spotting up. He’s a fairly confident shooter, and moved well around the arc to make himself available to teammates and find space to shoot:
In each of the previous three seasons, Robinson attempted more of his threes from the corners than the rest of the arc. His shooting has developed, though. He’s increased his attempts per 36 minutes every year of his career, and he’s become more comfortable relocating into space around the perimeter and shooting on the move. With the Warriors this season, he ranked in the 74th percentile among wings for his efficiency on non-corner threes (38 percent). The Sixers will hope to get more of this kind of production, and should utilise his ability to relocate off ball and shoot off screens (he ranked in the 72nd percentile on plays off screens with Golden State).
Robinson was shooting 40 percent from three overall with the Warriors this season. There’s not much to say about his cold shooting with the Sixers besides the fact that he just got himself into a quick slump. However, he did credit increased ball movement when discussing how he was able to find a rhythm against the Lakers.
“Coach has just been preaching, ‘Just a little bit more movement. Don’t be as stagnant. Just try to play off of each other,’” Robinson said after the game, per The Athletic’s Derek Bodner. “We’ve been practicing, working on that for the last couple of days. So I thought we had better ball movement, better movement with our cuts, with our energy in those cuts, and hopefully we can just watch film and continue to build on that.”
Plays like the following are what the Sixers need from Robinson if he’s going to add to his value. The Sixers run him off a pin-down screen from Tobias Harris, which gets Anthony Davis switching onto Robinson outside. As Davis arrives at the perimeter heading to the sideline, Robinson makes the smart decision to drive immediately to catch Davis going the wrong way. Davis is good enough to recover and contest well at the rim, but Robinson still finds a lane to drive and finishes well through contact:
Simply being active off the ball helped Robinson make some even easier buckets (this is something he did well early on with Philly, too). He picked up quick points by breaking out in transition, attacking the offensive glass, and cutting swiftly to the basket past recovering defenders:
Robinson’s offensive role couldn’t be much simpler: make threes and provide active, aggressive movement as a cutter, straight-line driver, and occasional off-screen shooter. Tuesday’s game was the first good example of him filling this role. Hopefully for the Sixers, Robinson can build from this performance and get back to normal from three.
“It was always going to be a difficult game,” Brett Brown said afterwards, per Lauren Rosen of Sixers.com. “But my criteria is did we get something out of it, did we move the needle a little bit? And I believe that we did. I think to get something out of Glenn Robinson was big tonight.”
Robinson himself sounded more upbeat after the game. “I continue to believe in myself,” he said, per Rosen, “and went out there and gave it my all... Me and [Alec Burks], our goal is to help this team win, and we were brought here to help this team win. So we’ve got to continue to figure out ways to do that.”
Robinson still needs to provide more defensively. He isn’t overly quick on the ball or the most attentive off-ball defender, so expectations for him should have never been too high when he joined the Sixers. There’s a reason he hardly cost anything in a trade along with Burks. Robinson’s been getting beaten too much on and off the ball so far, and he still wasn’t too good on that end against the Lakers, either.
In fairness, though, the team as a whole is seriously undermanned right now. Without their top three defenders in Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Josh Richardson (and with Al Horford continuing to disappoint), the rest of the team is going to have a hard time covering for them. Nevertheless, Robinson can clearly offer more resistance at the perimeter than other wings on the team such as Furkan Korkmaz, and he’s capable of more than he’s shown so far.
If Robinson can be more locked in defensively and benefit from developing chemistry with his teammates to sharpen rotations/switches, and keep finding his shot at the other end of the floor, he can be the useful role player the Sixers wanted.