2018-2019 Season Review: Pistons Need Glenn Robinson III at His Best Next Season
The Detroit Pistons had high hopes in Glenn Robinson III when they signed him to a two-year contract in July of 2019. For a team that at the time boasted Luke Kennard, Reggie Bullock, and Stanley Johnson on the wing, the addition of Bullock was one to provide depth and competition for one of the starting wing positions.
He began the season coming off the bench, but earned a consistent dose of minutes nonetheless. By the ninth game of the year, however, he was vaulted into the starting lineup, as Detroit was looking for more shooting with the current starting unit. Through the first three games, the change appeared to be a good one, as Robinson scored 16, 9, and 12 points respectively in those games. Eventually, his impact faded with the starting unit, as he slumped shooting the basketball. Dwane Casey opted not only to replace him in the starting lineup but to remove him from Detroit’s rotation completely, a shocking decision.
He remained sparsely used until March when a return to the rotation resulted in strong play from the small forward. For eight games in a row, he received consistent minutes, and while his shot was not falling from the outside, he was scoring from inside the arc.
Robinson inconsistently played for the rest of the regular season, not doing enough in Casey’s eyes to solidify a spot in the rotation down the stretch of the Pistons’ playoff push. He did appear in three of Detroit’s four playoff games, and while he made some nice plays on both sides of the floor, his shoot once again struggled to fall at a consistent capacity.
On the season, he shot just 42% from the field and 29% from beyond the arc, both lower percentages than what he shot in the 2017-2018 season. Prior to this season, he had shot 37.8% or better from distance over the past three years. As the Pistons desperately needed more shooting, they believed Robinson could provide that, but an anomaly of a season derailed that from happening.
Detroit has a decision to make with Robinson. He signed a two-year deal, but with a team option for the second season. If the Pistons decide to pick up the option, he would make just under $4.3 million next season, a cheap price for what can be a combo forward that, if his shooting corrects itself, will provide floor spacing, athleticism, and defensive intensity that the Detroit needs off the bench. But they could also opt to move on from him if they select a wing in the 2019 NBA Draft that they feel can play right away.
It feels as if the decision could come down to the wire, and it may also depend on how Detroit spends their money in free agency. They will have a little cap space to work with, and will have to use that, along with their draft picks to fill the following gaps: starting small forward, backup point guard, backup power forward/center. If they are unable to secure a wing they feel can start for them in the draft, then they’ll have to turn to free agency and potentially spend the bulk of their money addressing that need alone.
Robinson’s transition to the Pistons was shaky, and his season left more to be desired, but the Pistons may want to bank on him returning back to the form he was playing at in the three seasons prior to his fresh start in Pistons’ red, white, and blue. As a cost-effective option for depth on the wing, Glenn Robinson III can be of use for Detroit next season, if they decide to hold onto him.
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