San Antonio Spurs Draft Prospect: Robert Upshaw

By George Middleton

Robert Upshaw: 21-years old, Washington, Center

Draft Express Measurements (Draft Combine): 7″0, 258-pounds, 7″6 wingspan

2014-15 Stats: 10.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 4.5 blocks, 0.4 steals, 59% field goals, 43% free-throws, 0-1 threes, 24.9 minutes

Quick Season Review: The problem with Robert Upshaw is his discipline. After getting dismissed from Fresno State as a freshman for violation of team rules, you would think Upshaw learned, he didn’t. Upshaw was suspended for unspecified violation of team rules as a sophomore from Washington. Despite this Upshaw is seen as an intriguing prospect who can go anywhere from 20th in the draft and beyond. In the 19 games Upshaw played for Washington his impact was off the charts, as he was a shot blocking machine. If Upshaw would’ve qualified he would’ve easily led the nation in blocks, as the leader (Jordan Mickey) averaged 3.6. One of Upshaw’s standout game was against Eastern Washington, when he finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 blocks. His impact was evident as the Huskies went 2-10 without him to end the season, after going 14-5 with him.

Strengths: Incredible length and has terrific size for a big. At 7″0 and 258 pounds he has an NBA ready body. The best shot blocker in the draft without question. Good rebounder as well, would’ve easily averaged 10 plus boards if given 30 plus minutes like most draft prospects. He showed a terrific ability of finishing around the rim.

Weaknesses: His biggest red flag is certainly his discipline. If he is focused there is no question that he can become at least a solid backup center. Free-throw shooting (43%) must increase or you will be looking at a potential hack-an-Upshaw. Can continue to develop an already improving post-up game. Must improve conditioning a little.

Where He Would Help Spurs? 

If Tiago Splitter is dealt or remains a question mark with his health, the Spurs will truly benefit from selecting Upshaw. With Tim Duncan on his way out, Upshaw will be a shot blocking machine at worst. A system like San Antonio will certainly help Upshaw, in terms of discipline, as they handle things as professionally as any franchise. Selecting Upshaw is certainly a risk, but it may be worth taking late in the first round.

NBA Comparison: Hasheem Thabeet

Upshaw’s comparison is a bit trickier than most. The reason I selected Thabeet is because they are both terrific shot blockers that aren’t as mobile as the DeAndre Jordan‘s or Tyson Chandler‘s. Both rebound well and were decent in the post in college.

Below is a video uploaded by NZAUTV Basketball. Upshaw recorded 7 blocks in the game against San Jose State.