Milwaukee Bucks: Analyzing the signing of guard Justin Robinson

Apr 5, 2021; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2021; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks continue to add to their training camp roster and have apparently filled their final two-way slot. The Athletic’s Shams Charania was the first to report that the Bucks have signed Justin Robinson to a two-way contract.

This comes after the recent signing of Tremont Waters to a training camp contract. Similar to the Waters signing, Robinson is a 23-year-old point guard that hasn’t got a ton of playing time in his first two NBA seasons. He went undrafted after spending all four of his college seasons at Virginia Tech, where he played all four seasons. To the point that he hasn’t played much, he has only appeared in 18 total NBA games between two teams, the Washington Wizards and Oklahoma City Thunder.

This is another addition that may puzzle some fans as Robinson has very little in-game NBA experience, but like Waters, this obviously isn’t something that is supposed to impact the roster immediately. Robinson is another flier that general manager Jon Horst is taking on a younger guard that could fill either a two-way spot (as Robinson currently is), or help out the Herd.

Although Robinson does hold the two-way spot at the moment, there’s no reason to believe that it’s a lock he’ll be on the roster come October 19th against the Brooklyn Nets. Robinson, like Waters, will be coming into training camp to battle for that final spot. Like we did with Waters, let’s pretend as though Robinson does enough in camp to hold onto that two-way spot. What can he do?

What the reported Justin Robinson signing can bring to the Milwaukee Bucks

Once again, there’s really no harm in bringing in a player like Justin Robinson to compete for the final two-way spot in camp. The Bucks’ active roster is essentially full, so any player they want to bring in at this point won’t be anyone who can truly make an impact right away unless they’re willing to cut someone from the active roster.

Back to Robinson in particular, there really isn’t much to glean from his 18 game NBA sample to this point. It’s not like Waters where there are more games to look at and even a few starts to try to gain an indication of what Robinson is like as an NBA player.

Back to his college days, we can get a bit of a better picture. Across four seasons with the Virginia Tech Hokies, Robinson played in 125 games (started 105) and averaged 11.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.0 steals. His 3-point percentage got better as he got further into his college career, finishing as a 38.5 percent shooter from behind the arc on around three attempts per game. He was particularly efficient in his final two college seasons, posting a 60.7 percent true shooting over 57 games.

He has also found success in the G League, specifically last year in the G League bubble for the Delaware Blue Coats. In 13 games, Robinson averaged 15.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.6 steals while shooting over 40 percent from 3. The main weakness for Robinson, offensively, was that he shot under 38 percent on 2-point attempts. That showing plus leading the Blue Coats to the G League Finals, helped earn Robinson a 10 Day contract with the Thunder and probably what compelled the Bucks to give him a look.

As you can see, Robinson has very promising offensive tools as both a shooter and passer. Although he doesn’t have the necessary explosiveness to create space on his shot, he is good at finding open spaces off-ball. Defensively, he competes, can read and react to plays in front of him, and makes plays on the ball for steals and deflections.

The main issue that will (and has) held Robinson back is that he’s a bit undersized at 6’1″ and 195 pounds. He’s not as small as Waters, but his lack of size becomes a problem when going against NBA guards that are much bigger than him. If he were to crack a rotation, he would routinely get matched up against guards stronger than him and get matchup-hunted by wings.

Like Waters, it’s good to take a flier on a guard like Robinson because the Bucks don’t have much youth at that position and it’s not as if they lose anything if they have to cut them. This was part of the reason why I liked the idea of bringing undrafted guard Jalen Crutcher onto the Summer League roster to see if he could compete for a spot in training camp.

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At any rate, Robinson has an edge on Waters for the final two-way spot but it remains a spot that will be up for grabs when Milwaukee Bucks training camp begins later in September.