NBA Trade Deadline 2013: Sacramento Kings Give Up On Rookie Thomas Robinson Far Too Soon; Houston Rockets Will Reap Benefits


Feb 13, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Sacramento Kings power forward Thomas Robinson (0) warms up before the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Kings 123-100. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY SportsJust half a season into the rookie season of Thomas Robinson’s NBA career the No. 5 overall pick in the 2012 draft finds himself a part of his first NBA trade. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter), Robinson will be part of a multiplayer trade that will send him packing to play with James Harden and Jeremy Lin in Houston.

After such a disappointing start to his career in Sacramento, Robinson is hoping an exodus out of Keith Smart’s doghouse will allow his young career to hit full bloom.

See, Robinson is not short on talent, and though he hasn’t seen a lot of minutes this season, he’s shown a lot of flashes and has also had good per-minute production for the Kings.

According to Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld, the move was financially motivated—plain and simple:

As Steve Kyler brilliantly went on to summarize what actually occurred:

Per-36, Robinson posts 11 points, 10.6 rebounds and over a steal. He’s a bit of a tweener as forwards go, but his speed makes him a difficult matchup for both power forwards and even small forwards. His leaping ability makes boxing him out an absolute necessity, as Dwight Howard and the Lakers found out earlier this season:

Robinson by all accounts has all of the talent that most top-5 picks have: high upside, great athleticism and a great pedigree coming out of a powerhouse NCAA program like Kansas.

The Rockets are pulling a heist here, though it does require them to give up on Cole Aldrich, Patrick Patterson and Toney Douglas. Patterson had started for the Rockets prior to this deal, and Douglas had been providing a good scoring punch off the bench all season.

Aldrich, meanwhile, was making strides to be a competent backup center, and he received his minutes due to the lethargic practice habits of Greg Smith, who was sent to the D-League.

February 12, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Rockets power forward Patrick Patterson (54) dunks the ball against the Golden State Warriors during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Rockets defeated the Warriors 116-107. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY SportsPatterson will be a valuable player in Sacramento, but the Kings have invested heavily in their starting power forward Jason Thompson, who showed considerable potential his rookie season in 2008-09. Thompson is averaging his highest point total since his sophomore season at 13.8 points per game and is also snagging 8.5 boards per night.

He’s averaged nearly 14 points and over nine rebounds for his 4.5 year NBA career and that’s about as quality as most GMs are looking for in a starting power forward.

The thing is, Robinson could have potentially provided the Kings far more than that. He’s the kind of talent that has All-Star potential, and Robinson is dominating on the glass. He has potential to be a great defender, but isn’t one yet. It’s not as though there is a lot of defense being played in Houston anyway, at this point.

In addition to acquiring Robinson, Houston will also obtain the rights to Francisco Garcia, Tyler Honeycutt and a second-round draft selection.

But Thomas Robinson is the heist here.

He can be an absolute beast playing in Houston’s high-octane offense. The Rockets are the third highest scoring team in the Association, and are led by Harden’s 25 points per game, which ranks him fifth in the league in points per game. Lin is also a treat for Robinson to play with, as the former Knick has great playmaking skills which should only further enable T-Rob to get his fair share of Lin alley oops.

The Rockets go from being a very exciting team already to possibly the best team for League Pass subscribers to opt for on most nights. Eventually, the wider league will begin to be treated to the Harden show, as the Rockets appear to be on the brink of making the playoffs this season.

Robinson may not have excelled in his first NBA stop, but all it’s highly likely he goes on to do big things for Kevin McHale in Houston.