OKC Thunder: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl brings first round value

The OKC Thunder elected to trade up for the right to select Villanova forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. The Thunder entered the 2021 NBA Draft with six selections, including two valuable second-round selections at picks 34 and 36.

The Oklahoma City Thunder elected to package picks 34 and 36 to move up two spots, swapping with the New York Knicks at pick 32.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl provides first-round value to OKC Thunder

The Thunder have been prioritizing position-less basketball, versatility, and defense under head coach Mark Daigneault. That sentiment is driven home by Oklahoma City General Manager Sam Presti’s selections in recent drafts.

The 2021 NBA Draft was no different. The Oklahoma City Thunder shocked the world by selecting Josh Giddey at pick 6, a 6’9 guard who can play multiple positions. Doubled down by taking a combo-guard in Tre Mann who provides offensive versatility, and tripled down with the selection of Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.

The Kansas City native is a player that has all the intangibles and does all the dirty work. Barring injuries, it would be stunning if Robinson-Earl’s career ends short of a decade, with more than a few chances at an NBA title. He is the quality of player that championship-level teams will always want around.

Sure, the OKC Thunder didn’t draft a superstar at pick 32, not even an all-star. However, Robinson-Earl will be an all-time NBA Glue Guy.

At 6’9 forward can defend some shooting guards, small forwards, power forwards, and center. Offensively, he has the upside beyond the arc that a team will look for.

His bread and butter on the offensive end is his knack for grabbing rebounds and putting up second-chance points for his team.

According to Synergy, JRE is a very good post-up scorer knocking shut down at a 50-percent clip when posting up. His frame also allows him to be a great cutter, scoring over a point per cutting possession.

He is an excellent offensive player against man defense, a scheme he will see a ton in the NBA. Attribute that to his feel for the game, quick decision-making, and his ability to play under control.

Robinson-Earl’s offensive game really thrives when he has someone set him up. Either when he cuts to the rim, acts as a spot-up shooter, is fed down low in the post, or is the beneficiary of a dump-off pass.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander being able to spoon-feed Robinson-Earl on that end, plus the 20-year-olds defensive presence will make Jeremiah Robinson-Earl not only a fan favorite but a Mark Daigneault favorite as well.

It is possible that the former Wildcat becomes a solid starter in this league, but is more likely to be a sixth or seventh man off the bench. At pick 32, that is incredible value. While Robinson-Earl has not officially inked his contract, I would expect it to look similar to that of a late first-round pick. The return on investment will likely overachieve his rookie contract.