The only sure thing going into June’s NBA Draft was Anthony Davis being drafted first overall to the New Orleans Hornets. And while not written in stone, most believed the Charlotte Bobcats would take Kansas’ Thomas Robinson with the second overall pick. You’d have to look far and wide to find any pundits mock draft that had the Cats opting to look elsewhere – but come the moment of truth, that’s exactly what they did, selecting Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the second overall pick. Gilchrist, who was the favorite (in terms of reasonable selection spots) pick among many purple and black loyalists was expected to potentially (more hopefully) slide down to the Kings’ fifth selection where Geoff Petrie and company would’ve either had to choose between he or Harrison Barnes, in most scenarios.
Thankfully for the Kings, it didn’t play out true to form as Kidd-Gilchrist went in Robinson’s expected spot, starting the mini slide for the former Kansas forward. The Washington Wizards, who picked third opted to fortify their backcourt, drafting Bradley Beal over the ‘hometown’ Robinson, leaving only the Cleveland Cavaliers in the way of Robinson potentially becoming a King. With power forward Tristan Thompson recently drafted and a glaring need just about every place on the court sans point guard, Dan Gilbert and Chris Grant decided to shock the entire NBA community and draft Dion Waiters, leaving TRob on the big board for Sacramento.
As stated above, most “insiders” felt Thomas Robinson to be the second best player in the draft, so when he slipped to Sacramento it almost felt like a repeat of the 2010 NBA Draft where DeMarcus Cousins fell to Sacramento’s fifth selection. However, unlike Cousins, there wasn’t perceived attitude problems with Robinson – it was simply a lucky break, possibly capped off by poor front office decisions from the teams drafting in front of Sacramento.
While Thomas Robinson didn’t fill the positional need the Kings desired at the three, the Kings were obviously thrilled with Robinson’s fall and how couldn’t they be? The first-team All-American talent shouldn’t have been on the board for Sacramento in any plausible scenario – but for a team who’s recently been so unlucky during the NBA Draft Lottery, they’ve certainly found a golden horse shoe during the actual draft. In the past three years, the Kings have plucked talent like DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans, Isaiah Thomas and Thomas Robinson, essentially drafting their entire starting lineup (or soon to be) sans the small forward position.
As it pertains to Robinson, the Kings couldn’t have done any better given their options. There was a time just moments before the 2012 NBA Draft began, where it looked like the Kings lone option would be Harrison Barnes (or a trade) – not exactly chump change, but, far from a potential franchise talent. Yet, they come out with the player who many felt was the second best prospect in the draft thanks to a couple favorable bounces going their way.
Given the alternatives, it couldn’t have went better for Sacramento.