Thomas Robinson Will Have Golden Opportunity to Shine with Houston Rockets

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IFebruary 21, 2013

DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 10:  Thomas Robinson #0 of the Sacramento Kings at American Airlines Center on December 10, 2012 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The former No. 5 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, Thomas Robinson, will get a second chance to shine during his rookie season.

According to the Houston Rockets' official website, the team acquired Robinson on Wednesday in a six-player deal that sent Cole Aldrich, Toney Douglas and Patrick Patterson to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Francisco Garcia, Tyler Honeycutt and Robinson.

Although this deal features a half a dozen players, Robinson is hands-down the biggest piece.

A 6'10" power forward out of Kansas, Robinson has spent the first 51 games of his NBA career playing for one of the league's worst teams in Sacramento. Now, in Houston, the first-year big man will have an opportunity to play a meaningful role for a playoff contender, a rare, golden opportunity to shine that few, if any, top-five selections are ever given in their rookie season.

Robinson, like most talented NBA rookies in their first year, had to adjust to a losing tradition with the Kings, just months after leading the Jayhawks to the NCAA National Championship Game.

And while it's easy to label Robinson a bust after averaging 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game over his first half a season in the league, it is both unfair and premature to do so.

Clearly, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey believes in Robinson's potential, just as the Kings did last June. 

Plus, it's not like Robinson played terribly for the Kings. He never started a single game and only averaged 16 minutes per night off the bench, a number that's sure to increase in Houston.

Most would agree that Robinson has more upside than Patterson, who lacks the athleticism and rebounding prowess of Robinson. Plus, not many players drafted last summer boast the sort of high-energy motor that made Robinson a star during last year's NCAA Tournament run with Kansas. 

While Patterson is averaging more than twice as many points as Robinson this season, Robinson averages the same amount of rebounds, despite playing 10 fewer minutes per night.

The Kings may have been willing to give up on Robinson after less than four months, but the Rockets are just starting to believe, providing the 21-year-old with an excellent opportunity to shine before his rookie season comes to a close. 


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