Robert Upshaw is a center from the University of Washington. Upshaw is 7’0 with a wingspan of 7’6. For the year, he averaged, 24.9 minutes per game, 10.9 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game, 0.5 assists per game, 0.4 steals per game, 4.5 blocks per game, while shooting 59.3% from the field.
- Elite size
- Very athletic
- Great rebounder
- Elite rim protector
- Does not foul often
- Stays to his strengths
- Soft hands
- Garbage man on offense
- Has not scratched to the surface of his potential
- Character issues
- Lacks an entire offensive game
- Very poor free throw shooter
- Does not look comfortable defending outside the paint
Robert Upshaw has a lot of proving to do to people. Over the past two collegiate seasons, Upshaw has been kicked out of two colleges for his poor choices. Upshaw, at the combine stated during interviews when asked about whether getting asked if questions about his past bothered him, that his past was his past and he will need to accept it to move on. He also stated, that after rehab and changing his friend group he is a changed man, and is ready to prove that to the general managers of the league. Even with all these questions about his past and character, Upshaw has rare, elite rim protecting skills that teams desire. He displays perfect timing for this and knows how to use his body to not draw fouls, which is very nice skill. To go along with this shot blocking attribute, Upshaw is a good rebounder, who uses his terrific size to box out his opponents, and gargantuan wingspan to grab anything near him. Although Upshaw is a terrific paint defender, he struggles outside the paint, where he looks lost. His offensive game is solely based of his rebounding skills, as he is just a garbage man on offense. Upshaw lacks an offensive game outside the paint. With Upshaw being as raw as he is, this part of his game could be developed with the help of NBA shooting coaches, which would give him the ability to stretch the floor with a mid-range game. Hack-A-Shaq or Hack-A-Jordan will be applied to Upshaw, as he is a very poor free throw shooter. He has never shot above 50% from the line for any of his seasons, so either advanced work is needed on this, or you just let him be like DeAndre Jordan, and stick to his strengths. Overall, Upshaw is one of the biggest risk/reward players in the 2015 NBA draft. He possess elite rim protecting skills, which I think are better than Willie Trill Cauley-Stein, who is viewed as a top ten pick. His defense is his calling card, but being raw, and full of potential, his offensive game can only grow. Due to the character concerns, Upshaw has fallen down many draft boards. His draft range is expected to be from 20-35 with the Lakers and Celtics viewed as prime spots for him to land in mock drafts. Upshaw will have to prove a lot of people wrong, but his skill set should allow this to happen on the court, his off the court issues will always need to be kept in check.
Jordan and Upshaw share a lot of similar qualities in physical attributes. Both possess great size and long wingspans. Jordan is more athletic, but Upshaw does have great athleticism. Both players can run the floor well, leading to both players being good in transition. For offensive games, Jordan and Upshaw are fairly limited to put-backs and dunks. They are/were both very raw fundamentally on offense and are in need of development. Jordan and Upshaw are both very poor free throw shooters. Jordan has not improved this part of his game since coming into the league, and Upshaw looks as to that he will not either, unless a lot of work is done on this shot. On defense, Upshaw and Jordan are extremely alike. Both possess an uncanny ability to time shots and block them with ease. They use their strength and wingspan to be absolute terrors in the paint, but outside the paint neither are very effective defenders. The last comparison between the two is their rebounding skills. All that is to be said is that both of these players are good rebounders, who have both improved fundamentals over their careers to keep improving this part of their games. If Upshaw can develop into a DeAndre Jordan, he could be the steal of the draft, since he is projected a late first round pick, early second round. Jordan has become one of the best post defenders in the league for his position, and with that is going to earn a huge raise this offseason. A team would be lucky to add this type of player late in the first round for a fraction of the price of Jordan.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17