Maybe now, Thomas Robinson can finally settle somewhere. Maybe now, his NBA career can finally lift off.
By RUSTIN DODD
The Kansas City Star
Robinson, the former Kansas All-All-American, has been an NBA drifter for the last year, a lottery pick one day, unwanted and unneeded the next.
On Sunday, Yahoo Sports reported that the Houston Rockets had reached an agreement to send Robinson to the Portland Trail Blazers, a trade that would clear up salary cap space so Houston can move on and pursue Dwight Howard.
The deal, of course, comes just more than four months after the Sacramento Kings dealt Robinson to Houston in a multi-year deal that sent former KU center Cole Aldrich to Sacramento. This time, the Trail Blazers landed Robinson for the draft rights to two guys named Kostas Papanikolau and Marko Todorovic, as well as two future second-round picks.
So perhaps this is not the traditional career arc for a player that was selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft. Robinson, a 6-foot-9 power forward, averaged just 4.8 points and 15.9 minutes in 51 games for the Kings last year, before his minutes decreased even more in Houston. If Robinson expected to be an impact pro after leading Kansas to the NCAA title game in 2012, it would not happen in year one.
But now, there are reasons to believe that Portland could be a better fit. The Trail Blazers finished 33-49 last season, and Robinson will join a roster that is very thin — but does provide the chance to learn from All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge and play alongside emerging point guard Damian Lillard, the NBA’s rookie of the year last season.
Translation: Robinson should finally get some minutes — and it could come in a relatively healthy environment.
Better yet, Robinson will be reunited with former KU teammate Jeff Withey, who was selected by the Blazers in the second round of last Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Maybe the presence of Withey will allow Robinson to tap into some of his old KU mojo.
Robinson is still the player that nearly went No. 2 in the draft behind Anthony Davis. Still has the same motor, the same athleticism, the same ability to rebound. Maybe now, his first-year struggles will add a little fuel. Maybe now, Robinson has found a better fit.