Shoot the basketball, rookie.
That’s the mandate Clippers coach Doc Rivers has issued to first-year shooting guard Jerome Robinson.
Understandably, Robinson is hesitant to pull the trigger with any frequency when he’s playing with such stalwart offensive weapons as Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Danio Gallinari and Tobias Harris.
The Clippers viewed Robinson as a scorer when they used the 13th pick in the NBA draft to select him out of Boston College.
He was the second-leading scorer last season in the ACC, averaging 20.8 points a game. He was seventh in the conference in three-point shooting, making 41.9% of his three-point shots.
So the Clippers know the 6-5 Robinson can score.
He just has been shy about hoisting shots in four preseason games, shooting 34.8% from the field and 38.5% from three-point range while averaging 6.0 points in 17.2 minutes a game.
Robinson took a step forward against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night, showing his aggressive side by scoring 12 points on four-of-10 shooting, including three for eight on three-pointers.
“He shot the ball, and it was really good,” Rivers said after the Clippers defeated the Nuggets 109-103 at Staples Center. “We've been on him to just be aggressive. It’s tough, especially a guy that got all the shots at Boston College and he comes here and he’s got Lou and Patrick and Avery and Gal and Tobias all around him.
“He’s never played with this much talent and so he looks at himself as a guy that should be passing the ball. And we say, ‘No. We didn’t draft you (to pass). We never saw you pass. So we want you to shoot.’ Because he’s actually a good playmaker as well. But I like the aggressive Jerome thing. That was good.”
They all see the potential Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has and that is why the veteran guards on the Clippers take it upon themselves to be a mentor for the rookie point guard.
Beverley and Bradley are always in Gilgeous-Alexander’s ear, explaining to him the ways of the NBA. Williams, the sage in the group, also parts wisdom to Gilgeous-Alexander.
Early in the preseason, they have seen the 6-6 guard make strides. He has started three of the four games and is averaging 9.8 points and three assists in 22.6 minutes a game. He’s shooting 47.1% from the field and 66.7% from three-point range.
Rivers noted how Bradley is “serious” about things being done the right way and how he holds everyone accountable in the process.
“I think he's been unbelievable with Shai,” Rivers said. “And then Lou has really been great as well. I don't think Lou's giving them any defensive stuff, but Lou's as clever as they are offensively, so Shai's getting a lot of good advice.”