Thursday, June 27th, 2013 was a particularly odd day for Andre Roberson. Even though he was initially selected 26th overall by the Timberwolves in the 2013 NBA Draft, all he could do was stand by as he got the news of his new NBA team almost immediately handing his draft rights, along with player Malcolm Lee, over to the Warriors for a 2014 2nd round draft pick and cash considerations. Not very long after that, he received news of the Thunder trading the rights to Archie Goodwin, their pick at #29, to acquire his from the Warriors. Thankfully this was the last bit of news regarding his draft rights that he would receive, as by the time draft day had ended, he had been adjusting to the idea of roster spots on three different NBA franchises.
Injuries to starters meant that Roberson found playing time in his initial NBA season. However, his lack of a 3-point shot (15.4% avg.) limited his minutes, as well as his effectiveness on offense. Roberson started in 4 of the Thunder’s 5 match-ups in Orlando, so did he show signs of improvement during his time there? Let’s take a look at his overall contributions to his team.
Grizzlies: In 27:58, he scored 5 points off of 2-for-6 (33.3%) shooting, including a miss from downtown (0%). He also shot a horrendous 1-for-5 (20%) from the free throw line, his 6 personal fouls would have had him ejected from any regular season contest, and his assist to turnover ratio was abysmal (1 assist to 5 turnovers). At least he did something at the defensive end, hauling in 8 defensive rebounds, a steal, and a block.
76ers: In 29:34, he scored 12 points off of 5-for-12 (41.7%) shooting, including 1-for-3 (33.3%) from beyond the arc. He went 1-for-2 (50%) on his free throws in this one, as his 10 rebounds (5 off., 5 def.) actually meant that he was good for a double-double in this one. He also grabbed 2 steals and blocked a shot at the defensive end, while posting a far better assist-to-turnover ratio (2 assists to just 1 turnover). However, he did post 5 personal fouls, and saw 2 of his own shots blocked as well.
Nets: He did not play, as he was one of five players given the day off.
Pacers: In 28:30, he scored 9 points off of 3-for-6 (50%) shooting, including 1-for-2 (50%) from 3-point range. He ended the day with a brutal 2-for-6 (33.3%) on his freebies, although he managed double digits once again on his rebounds with 10 total (4 off., 6 def.). He also added 2 steals and a block, while keeping the assist-to-turnover ratio even with 2 of each. He ended with only 2 personal fouls, but saw another one of his shots blocked in this contest as well.
Heat: In 29:33, he scored 12 points off of a lights-out 4-for-5 (80%) shooting performance, although he still went 4-for-12 (33.3%) from the free throw line. His assist-to-turnover ratio looked good here as well (3 assists to 2 turnovers), as he added 5 rebounds (2 off., 3 def.) and 2 steals. He kept himself in line better here as well, logging only 3 personal fouls.
Totals: In a total of 115 minutes and 35 seconds, or nearly 29 minutes a game, his per-game averages are as follows: 9.5 points off of 48.3% shooting, including 33.3% from 3-point range. 32% free throw shooter, 2 assists, 8.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 0.8 blocks, 4 personal fouls, 2.5 turnovers, and 0.5 blocks against.
Roberson began to turn it up towards the end of league play in Orlando, but still has a lot to prove in terms of consistency. Much like Perry Jones III, Roberson is one of those players who can come out of nowhere for big plays, but seems to be a non-factor for the most part. The difference between the two, however, is that Jones shows far more ability at the offensive end. His 32% free throw shooting percentage being the entirety of his performance in Orlando is also a significant concern.
His rebound and steal totals are indicative of a kid who has serious hustle at the defensive end. That hustle is indicative of a kid who “wants it”, as the scouts and coaches would say. The problem with that hustle is that he has a tendency to play reckless with it. His personal foul totals are all of the proof you need in that regard.
Kevin Durant’s presence will assure that Roberson sees little to no playing time at the 3 position, and the acquisition of Anthony Morrow, along with Reggie Jackson’s presence means that Roberson is likely to be riding the bench for most of the 2014-2015 season as well. His inconsistency means that he will simply have a hard time finding playing time among a roster with major depth along all 3 perimeter positions, and his lack of height alone (6’7″) makes post play a complete impossibility. While Roberson may find a spot among the Thunder roster for the upcoming season, expect him to be riding bench for the vast majority of it. He’s just a little too raw on a roster that’s just a little too deep at this stage of his career.