Tired of hearing about how I don’t watch college basketball? My apologies, but until I’ve seen a lot more of a player than I have one Vegas game into his NBA career, I feel it’s necessary to provide you with my standard disclaimer: I don’t watch college basketball, at all, ever.
Now, I’d like to discuss Thomas Robinson. He made his quasi-NBA debut in an 87-121 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, who probably deployed the closest thing to an actual regular-season roster that I’ve ever seen in a Summer League game. Robinson led the Kings in defeat as he scored 19 points, but he also turned the ball over 8 times. That’s way too many, obviously, and although he tried to do too much on a variety of occasions, at least a couple of his TOs can be chalked up to Sacramento’s inability to deal with Charlotte’s press, which was unrelenting throughout the 40-minute contest. Interestingly, the 6’9” Robinson often found himself attempting to bring the ball up the floor. Like I said, he did try to force the action at times, but I also felt that he was put in some tough positions due to his team’s lack of competent ball handlers. Despite the abundance of frustrating turnovers, Robinson actually displayed some promise with the ball in his hands. He finished without an assist, but he would’ve had at least a few if his teammates didn’t blow so many layups. I thought the highlight of the game had come when he hit someone with a one-handed, thread-the-needle bounce pass in transition, but someone was unable to convert from pointblank range. Robinson was able to make a play or two for himself as well… he scored a variety of baskets off the dribble, and he got to the line very effectively (he only made 9 0f 15 attempts, but that’s probably less important than the simple fact that he earned 15 attempts).
Unfortunately, whether it was the fault of Robinson or that of his squad, we didn’t get to see much of number-five pick in the post. He recorded just five rebounds and attempted more jumpers than jump hooks. Although this was disappointing on one hand, it was intriguing on the other. I mean, he did show some basic instincts in a variety of challenging situations that no one expected him to face in his first game as a professional.
Honestly, I thought the kid did okay. He had some moments that were good, and he had some moments that were bad. I don’t expect him to double as a point guard when the actual season gets underway, and it’ll be a lot different when he’s placed next to Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans, and DeMarcus Cousins rather than Jimmer Fredette, Josh Akognon, and Hassan Whiteside.
Oh, and he totally killed it in his first postgame interview…
Poor bastard with the mic must’ve felt like he’d been forced to question Gregg Popovich prior to the fourth quarter of a certain San Antonio defeat.
Seriously though, assuming this young man can channel his emotions properly, I love his attitude. It’s clear that he expects a lot of himself, and I’d say he’s confident that he can be a lot better than he was on this night. While he’ll have to be careful not to be too hard on himself, he’s obviously a passionate basketball player. That’s almost always a good thing.
I think it’s fair to say that if there’s any team in need of a leader who accepts responsibility for his own faults, that team is the Sacramento Kings. Maybe they’ve found that guy in Thomas Robinson. Only time will tell.