In this latest instalment of draft profiles, I will be looking at Isaiah Roby.
College Team: Nebraska (Junior)
2018-19 Stats: Over 35 games in around 31min per game he averages 12pts, 7reb, 1.9blk, 1.3stl, 1.9ast at 45% FG, 33% 3P and 68% FT.
Projected Draft Spot: Late 1st Rd – Mid 2nd Rd.
At the college level, Roby’s greatest skill set seem to be at the defensive end, where he has been able to cover players across most spots, at times. Typically, he has spent most of his time guarding the 3-5 spots. While not a massive guy, Roby has the size, strength and athleticism to go up and grab the rebounds, even in traffic. He is also able to read passing lanes well, which allows him to get steals, or poke the ball away. Roby can effectively defend the rim, often coming to block the ball from a distance with his long wingspan, and athleticism - especially on the weak side.
While Roby hasn’t lit up the scoring charts at the college level, he can score from a variety of places on the court – although most of his scoring comes from just inside the charity stripe on in to the rim, and out at the three-point line. He doesn’t shoot many deep mid-range shots. He could be a pretty good catch-n-shoot type of player, along with his attacking the rim style he likes to use. Roby does have pretty decent passing skills, especially when he can hit a cutter on the move frequently.
Roby has significant 3 & D potential and will be a combo forward in the NBA.
Roby does have one glaring issue…consistency. As you can see in the highlights, he can score from different areas, he can rebound and defend well inside and out…but he doesn’t seem to be able to do that day in day out. Some of that may be maturity, or it could be where his BBIQ (which is good, but not great), is at the moment. But never-the-less, it is something he will need to work on at the pro level.
When in pressure situations, Roby can be seen to jack up a heap of shots to try and bear the load of the offence, which ends up costing the team as a whole. He can also be a little turnover prone, which often comes from making the wrong pass (let’s say a lob instead of a bounce pass) in the right play. His percentage beyond the arc isn’t great, but that can get better with experience. He did shoot 40% in his sophomore season.
At the defensive end, he can at times be foul prone, especially when going for blocks. Roby will need to work on his timing at the next level if he is to become a main rotation player in the NBA.
NBA Player Comparison: Ceiling as a Rudy Gay (with better D), and floor a Cunningham type player. But could end up being much like Miami’s Justise Winslow or Atlanta’s Taurean Prince, maybe even a Covington type, but with better all-round skills.
Fit with the Spurs:
Check out the highlights vs Maryland – Roby had a stat line of 20pts, 14reb, 2stl and 5blk. The Spurs need that sort of two-way player. Rudy and his skill set has been important to the Spurs these past couple of seasons, and getting a similar set of skills, albeit with possibly better defence, in Roby could be beneficial for the Spurs. He has the defensive skills to play alongside Poeltl, with his rebounding and shot-blocking capabilities, and still be a stretch 4 on offence, meaning he won’t clog the lane. He also has the quickness and athleticism to play alongside the young guns. Roby would provide the Spurs with a multi-layered defensive set-up, with Murray and White on the perimeter, Roby from the arc to the rim, and Poeltl at the rim. The Spurs are going to need to start drafting for a post mid-three (Aldridge, Gay and DeRozan) era, and Roby, while not projected as a super-star, could become a significant piece of the puzzle to maintaining the Spurs contention in the future.
Next Profile: Louis King