We're early enough in the draft process right now that pretty much the only thing anyone can agree on is that Anthony Davis should and will be the No. 1 pick of the New Orleans Hornets. After that, it's a bit of a mess, with some people thinking the Charlotte Bobcats should take Connecticut big man Andre Drummond second, others claiming that Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson is the best fit, and various reporters saying that they're actively shopping the pick. With just less than three weeks left until the draft, we're a little uncertain of how things will shake out.
In the meantime, prospects are working out and meeting up with teams to show they're worthy of becoming high picks. In many cases, that includes jockeying for position in the press. But it's a little weird that, as he tries to prove he should be the first guy taken after Davis, Robinson is making claims that no one else involved with the draft agrees with. From Sam Amick for SI.com (via SLAM):
The Kentucky forward [Davis] is seen as the consensus No. 1 pick in the June 28 draft, and he sauntered into the interview room at the draft combine wearing a T-shirt that read "Check my stats." Davis wasn't asked about the meaning of the shirt, but Robinson wasn't afraid to share his thoughts when reporters inquired.
"If you wanted to check the stats, then I'd be the No. 1 pick easily -- if that's what you want to do," he said. "I should get one of those shirts. I'll get a shirt that says, 'Numbers don't lie.' " [...]
"I'm going to go after every team that I step on the floor against," Robinson said. "There's really not going to be a specific team that I'm going to point out and just try to kill. I'm trying to kill everybody." [...]
"I think I play with a different level than everyone else, a different intensity level," Robinson said. "I'm going to play every night -- that's not something every guy [does]. Everybody don't show up every night on a consistent basis. I think out of this group, I probably would say that I'm one of the players that do."
NBA teams like players who are confident in their abilities, but they also like guys who have a sense of their limitations. Robinson is an intriguing prospect because of his motor, track record against top-shelf competition, and relatively high floor (rather than ceiling). On the other hand, he's fairly short for an NBA power forward and might have limited potential. To put it another way, there are very obvious reasons that he's not going to be taken ahead of Davis.
The context for these statements is a little different than a logical argument, though, because Robinson's job in this pre-draft period is to convince teams that he's worth their selection. He might actually believe that he's the best player in the draft, and for all we know that'll end up being the case despite our best guesses. But the takeaway from these sorts of confident statements isn't that he's an irrational person — it's that he believes in himself and will do whatever it takes to prove his doubters wrong. Logic is for analysts and talent evaluators, not the participants.
In fact, it's standard operating procedure for a very good but not universally beloved player like Robinson to talk like this around this time in the draft process. We can act surprised when they voice ridiculous opinions, but those opinions shouldn't be held to the same standards as our own. Robinson is announcing his presence with authority, not trying to score points in a debate.