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Season Review: Robert Woodard II

Woodard displayed an ability to optimally use his ideal physical tools in the bubble but was given minimal opportunity on the main roster.

The Kings selected Robert Woodard II from Mississippi State with the 40th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, after trading back from pick 35. Woodard possesses an ideal NBA frame standing at 6’7” with a 7’2” wingspan and outlier strength for a 21-year-old at 235 pounds.

With minimal opportunity on Sacramento’s roster to begin the year, the first real occasion to gain a deeper understanding of Woodard's game and how he uses those ideal physical tools came in the G-League Bubble where he was assigned to the Austin Spurs.

Throughout the 12 games that Woodard played, he averaged 16.8 points, 11.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.4 steals, and 0.6 blocks in 31.2 minutes per night. He was awarded all-NBA G-League third-team honors for his stellar performance on both ends of the floor. Coming out of college, Woodard was touted as one of the only wings of his size with impressive defensive capabilities that could possibly be available in the second round of the draft. 

Considering that the Sacramento Kings were once again one of the worst teams in the league at protecting the rim, this is where I think Woodard could be the most impactful from early on in his career and he certainly displayed that during his time with Austin. 

The Spurs had moments of playing Woodard at small forward, power forward, and even center. It was reported earlier in the season that Robert Woodard, as a rookie, was already leading the Sacramento roster in the bench press. That impressive strength paired with stellar lateral quickness is what allowed the aforementioned positional versatility on the defensive end of the floor. For stretches in the bubble, Woodard was even tasked with covering 6’2” Tyrell Terry along with other guards and held his own.

Another aspect that would likely translate to the league sooner rather than later is Woodard’s rebounding ability and desire. Of all players in the G-League, Woodard’s 11 rebounds per game were the eight most of any player - which is even more impressive when you consider centers typically dominate this statistical category. Anytime the ball went up, on either end of the floor, Woodard was tracking it with his eyes and doing everything in his power to swim through the opposition to track down the rebound. This mindset led to a handful of explosive putback dunks that will surely cause the Golden 1 Center to erupt when he inevitably throws one down there.

Even outside of offensive rebounds, Woodard was looking to place any and everyone that came between him and the rim on a poster. With his impressive combination of strength, bounce, and touch, Woodard managed to convert 66.7 percent of his attempts in the restricted area this season. For reference, Harrison Barnes executed 67.5 percent on the same shot attempts and Marvin Bagley managed 67.0 percent.

There were flashes of self-creation and five occasions where Woodard surpassed 20 points during his time in the bubble that could hint at a higher upside than expected coming out of Mississippi State, but his three-point shooting needs to be cleaned up for him to find a role in the near future in a low-usage role alongside De’Aaron Fox and/or Tyrese Haliburton. 21.3 percent from downtown is not going to cut it, but the confidence that Woodard displayed (3.9 three-point attempts per game) was promising despite the poor results from range. Furthermore, converting just 68.6 percent of his free throws is cause for some concern but nothing that we have not seen young players make strides in before.

After returning from the bubble, Woodard was given some garbage time minutes here and there before dealing with lower back soreness that kept him sidelined from April 19th until May 15th, which only left two games on the schedule. The final two showings for Sacramento were the only time that the 40th overall pick played more than five minutes for the main roster, and it is hard to pull anything notable from such limited playing time.

The offensive side of the ball still leaves much to be desired for Robert Woodard, specifically his three-point shot, but there is reason to believe that the Mississippi State product could make a positive defensive impact on a team that so desperately needs it as soon as next season.

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RobHessing
June 7, 2021 2:43 pm

This kid has piqued my interest. Would sure like to see him progress and make the core rotation next season.

andy_sims
June 7, 2021 2:44 pm

Very nice write-up! I would imagine he’ll be back and forth between Stockton & Sacramento during the D-League season, but if he’s here, he’s got to get some real minutes in order to be evaluated.

I love the way Woodard starts creeping toward the basket when a teammate begins their shot so that he’s ready to spring when the rebound begins. As you said, he’s already built for NBA play, should be a plus defender once he learns his way around, and ought to be able to improve his shooting numbers.

He seems like a hard worker, so if he stays healthy, getting practice reps in could allow him to get where he needs to be.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
June 7, 2021 4:41 pm

I’m actually looking forward to a possible Summer League so we can see the likes of Woodard, Ramsey, King, and who ever the Kings keep with their 2 picks this draft. It would be even better if they could get Metu to play in Summer league.

It’s kind of funny and scary that Kings potentially have their entire bench playing in summer league. What does that say about the roster construction?

MyNeighborTurturro
June 7, 2021 5:31 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

What does that say about the roster construction?

Super team, just young.

Putthegundown
June 7, 2021 6:49 pm

I feel sorry for any youngster coming here and won’t feel any better until we get a huge upgrade at the head coach position and a better training staff and of course a new shot caller to replace Vivek.

murraytant
June 7, 2021 8:26 pm

Woodard picked at 40 after trading #30 to Memphis who took Tillman. Kings picked up second rounder as well. I think they wanted Woodard all along.
Has a higher ceiling than Tillman but a lower floor. All teams need a defender- Crowder, Thybulle, Bruce Brown etc. He could play that role and add extra rebounding and develop his shot.
But to have a defender with big minutes, the other 4 have to be serious offensive players and the “other 4 ” are not that yet.
Let’s see how he does by ASG next season. He has some skills but need serious development. Kings…player development? we will see.

murraytant
June 7, 2021 8:27 pm
Reply to  murraytant

I meant #35.

MidtownMike
June 7, 2021 9:56 pm
Reply to  murraytant

Get zinger (barf contact) and play him with fox, hali, bags, zinger… There are your four offensive guys

RikSmits
June 7, 2021 10:46 pm

That’s what still annoys me about last season; we didn’t get anywhere, have slim chance at a top pick and some of our intruiging prospects barely sniffed the floor.

I hope we can see more from Woodard next season. But with Monte’s play-offs or bust comments, I have my doubts.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
June 8, 2021 8:24 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I could totally see the Kings letting their young players rot on the bench in favor of signing supposedly “win now’ players like the Jeff Green’s of the league, only to watch those young players leave and become productive players elsewhere.

Marty
June 8, 2021 8:51 am
Reply to  Adamsite

History tells us you’re absolutely right. I’m sure Monty isn’t trying to win now and parlay his quick franchise turnaround into another executive position, rising out of the league’s basement.

eddie41
June 8, 2021 9:43 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I think Woodard’s injuries kept him off the floor. It happened right at the end of the g league bubble. If he can hit the open 3, he might have a chance to crack the rotation.

TheGrantNapear
June 8, 2021 6:33 am

Monte really goofed up on not resigning Bogi. He’s looked excellent playing with Trae.
A three headed wing monster of Fox, Hali and Bogi would have been lethal. Should have resigned Bogi and flipped Buddy.
Certainly happy for Bogi finding success in ATL and getting playoff burn. Couple months ago, who would have thought ATL had a real shot at playing in the ECF. Hoping Monte makes a major move this offseason to turn this ship around and get us into the playoffs.

https://www.theringer.com/2021/6/8/22523435/bogdan-bogdanovic-atlanta-hawks-serbia-playoffs

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
June 8, 2021 8:22 am
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

The real kicker, is if the Kings had matched on Bogi’s $18M they’d be sitting at $123M for the season, AND could have still signed all the players they did the past offseason. The Kings only handed out minimum deals.

At $123M, the Kings still would have only had the 24th highest payroll! But sure, Monte “has all the resources at his disposal.” What a bunch of bullshit.

Otis
June 8, 2021 8:31 am
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

I’ve been impressed with his poise during the playoffs, and really all these Atlanta players. None of them seem overwhelmed by the moment.

And happy for Bogi too, his move has worked out well for all parties. I mean, except for Sacramento.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
June 8, 2021 8:46 am
Reply to  Otis

Excluding his injury and the games he missed due to that, he is having the best year of his career by almost every metric.

BestHyperboleEver
June 8, 2021 9:16 am
Reply to  Adamsite

He’s playing with smart players on a team with well-defined roles being performed by players with skillsets suited to those roles.

Otis
June 8, 2021 9:36 am

An interesting way to run a railroad, certainly.

BestHyperboleEver
June 8, 2021 9:16 am
Reply to  Otis

I’m not too surprised by Bogi’s poise. He has performed in a ton of high pressure games and tournaments over the years.

Marty
June 8, 2021 8:59 am
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Seems odd that an incredibly long article on Bogi’s professional development would only include one small paragraph about his time in Sacramento. 😜

BestHyperboleEver
June 8, 2021 9:20 am
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

From the article:

“You can’t just let that kind of player go for free, you know?” Nemanja Bjelica, a former teammate of Bogdanovic’s on the Kings and current teammate on the Serbian national team, said in a phone call last week. “But you know, he is now in a better place. It’s better there for him.”

comment image

BeTheBall
June 9, 2021 3:58 pm

He’s not lying. 29 other cities would be a better place for anyone on this roster.

eddie41
June 8, 2021 9:38 am
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

pre-draft, you had to keep Bogi. I almost lost my sanity over the topic. After getting Haliburton in the draft, I can see both sides. Look at well Hali is developing.

Otis
June 8, 2021 9:43 am
Reply to  eddie41

You can also look at the over 2,000 minutes we gave Cory Joseph and the handful of other scrub guards. A good coach (LOL) could have made it work.

I’m not sure Hali’s growth would necessarily be stunted by playing with better basketball players.

Last edited 6 days ago by Otis
eddie41
June 8, 2021 9:50 am
Reply to  Otis

I would have matched also. I’m just saying I can see both sides. CoJo is gone and Delon Wright played well. Shot 40% from 3, actually. So I think PG is a position of strength for the kings. If they have the #9 pick, the BPA might be another combo guard like Springer or Butler.

Otis
June 8, 2021 9:54 am
Reply to  eddie41

Yeah, I don’t completely disagree – I don’t think it was a slam dunk decision. But it’s tough to see a team that doesn’t have a ton of assets let them slip away with no return.

Having too much talent at any one position/area wouldn’t be the worst thing for the franchise, since theoretically you could trade from strength to shore up weakness.

Last edited 6 days ago by Otis
Kingafan427
June 9, 2021 6:40 pm

He was injured but he should have played some when healthy. He has all of the defensive tools. He competes. His college coach infamously said he “has the body of a Greek God…the body of Adonis.” He is a prototypical 3 and d forward is young and I hope he realizes his potential.

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