When Thomas Robinson was taken by the Sacramento Kings with the 5th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, it should have been the first step in what surely was going to be al All-Star caliber NBA career. He had averaged 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds as a junior at Kansas so there was no reason to think it would be much different in the pros.
Instead, it has proven to be the only bright spot in what can generously be called a career that has proceeded in fits and starts thus far.
Since his rookie season, Robinson has played for five organizations, including his current home, the Philadelphia 76ers. His first season with the Kings he averaged 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds in the 51 games he saw minutes in. After that, his numbers went steadily down as he was sent from team to team until finally being waived by the Denver Nuggets at the trade deadline last February.
Enter the Sixers, who laid claim to Robinson almost immediately. Since then, watching the 24-year old forward has been a revelation.
Robinson is averaging just over 17 minutes a game with the Sixers, in which he is scoring 8.8 points and pulling down 8.4 rebounds. So far on the year Robinson is averaging 5.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 0.4 blocks per game.
It’s amazing to watch what Robinson is capable of now that he is being given the simple opportunity to play. Coming to a team like the Sixers, where there is more than enough playing time to go around, especially for a power forward who is young and hungry, was a perfect situation for Robinson. With the great Furkan Aldemir experiment proving to be a disaster and Luc Mbah a Moute all but certain to be released at season’s end, there is no reason to think that Robinson couldn’t be a starter this time next year.
In fact, there is a very good chance that Robinson could be a permanent part of the Sixers plans going forward.
And after having to move around so much over the course of his first three years in the league, nothing would make Robinson happier. He recently told Keith Pompey of Philly.com
“I want this to be the place. I’m tired of moving.”
It also helps that he understands what the Sixers are doing and the short and long-term goals of the franchise. He said as much to Dei Lynam of CSN Philly.com earlier this week.
“This time of year is tough mentally if you are not playing for something. It is all about the organization now. It is not about the playoffs. It is about us in this locker room. We want to go out with momentum. We want to go into the summer with a platform to build on. That is all that matters right now.”
Robinson is not only sounding like a team player, but also someone who can provide leadership and guidance as a player with the experience of having been around the league more than he would like.
Four teams had a chance to see what Robinson could do. They all decided to take a pass.
Their loss is the Sixers gain.
Welcome home Thomas Robinson.