Another Blazer newbie is a young-gun, Thomas Robinson. An ESPN top 100 player out of high school has been with two other teams before the Blazers and he is only in his 2nd year! Robinson was a top five draft pick in last year’s draft, which means the Blazers have three of the top 11 players from that draft, Robinson at 5, Damian Lillard at 6 and Meyers Leonard at 11.
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Back in college, Robinson was a beast. In 2011, he put up 30 points and snagged 21 rebounds against the University of North Dakota. He was the first player at the University of Kansas to have a 30/20 game since 1961. By the end of his junior year he had 22 double-doubles. He was selected as the Big 12 player of the year by the other Big 12 coaches and the Associated Press for 2012. He was also a First Team All-American. We haven’t even gotten to his stats yet.
His junior year was his best and most significant, in terms of his influence and his playing time. He averaged a double-double his junior year with 17.7 PPG and 11.9 RPG. He shot 50.5% from the field and 68.2% from the FT line that year. After college, he was drafted by the Sacramento Kings fifth. He was never a major factor with the Kings, only scoring 4.8 PPG and 4.7 rebounds per game in 15.9 minutes a game. He was traded on Feb. 20 to the Houston Rockets where again he didn’t do much. He scored 4.5 PPG and 4.1 rebounds per game in 19 games with Houston. In July, he was traded to Portland for two players overseas and two future second round picks.
Robinson is looking to be a keep bench player for the Blazers. He will be able to give L.A. the rest and breaks he needs and deserves. Robinson can also slide in at Center if coach Stotts wants to play L.A. and Robinson side-by-side. However, a Robinson and Leonard second unit would be tough to stop. L.A. has gotten into foul trouble in the past, so it will be nice to have Robinson there to keep the offense going even without L.A.'s dominance.
As a whole the Blazer roster is young and promising. Of the “core” players, the oldest player is L.A. at 28. Almost the entire rest of the roster is that age or younger. Only Earl Watson and Mo Williams are older than L.A. Robinson is only 22, so if L.A. wants to leave (even though he said on Media day he wants to stay) the Blazers have a solid young guy to step in. All worst case scenarios aside, Robinson has a lot of promising talent and skill to help him in the future. He’s only going to get better as he has more time to learn and play under and with L.A. Even without being a Blazer fan, I think that L.A. is the best power forward in the game today; his all-around game is the best in the NBA, so I think Robinson will have the best teacher for PFs as he grows up.