Just like you have to feel for we fans, you have to feel for the players of the Sacramento Kings. If the uncertainty surrounding the franchise wasn’t awful enough, being a cellar dweller for a half decade plus along with a head coach who bases his rotations off of hockey lineups can eat at a player. Just like it did Thomas Robinson, who was traded to the Houston Rockets earlier this week and apparently feels like a big weight has been lifted off of his broad shoulders.
As Ryne Nelson of Slam put it – sitting in the Rockets locker room last night, the former Jayhawk had a smile that could’ve stretched from Sacramento to New York, happy to be out of the ugly shadow that has become Sacramento basketball recently. And frankly, sad as it is to say – who can blame him?
Many were upset with Robinson’s poor statistics as a King, but in all honesty, outside of a very poor December, Robinson played pretty well given the circumstances.
Players need structure – players need commitment – players need familiarity. Robinson had none of that in Sacramento – not even players like DeMarcus Cousins or Tyreke Evans have it as they’re continually benched at random points, though, at least they know they’ll be playing on any given night – something Robinson wasn’t ever aware of.
As Robinson said himself, he wasn’t sure why the Kings would actually trade him -
“I just know that I’m here now and I have to make the best of the opportunity,” Robinson says. “I don’t know why they [made the trade], that’s not really a concern right now. I’m just focused on playing.”
But it’s obvious he wasn’t exactly thrilled with the job Keith Smart has been doing -
“I never was surprised,” TRob says of his three months with the Kings. “That’s how it works. Sometimes you don’t come in right away and play, and you got to wait your turn. That was just my situation, and I had to deal with it.”
Robinson’s woeful stretch during December had some fans turning on him and after shooting 32% for the month to go along with just 3.8 points and 4 rebounds in 15 minutes a game, the frustration was mounting. Still – outside of that hiccup, TRob was putting up solid numbers, averaging 5.6 points, nearly 5 boards, an assist and a half steal and half block, on 50% from the field in 15 minutes a game – stats that if doubled and given a normal thirty minutes of floor time look like a very solid 12 and 10 nightly – not bad for a rookie. Of course, looking deeper into the stats, the more Robinson was used the better he played, yet, despite that, he and other young talent for the Kings (say like Jimmer Fredette) were (and in Fredette’s case, still are) passed over.
By no stretch of the imagination this a knock on incoming talent Patrick Patterson, who’s a very talented player in his own right – but the sting of trading a promising young talent so quickly – it burns and burns deep.