LAS VEGAS — Thomas Robinson has been one of the more underwhelming first round picks at the NBA Summer League, though that’s partially due to the high expectations bestowed upon the first round pick. The Sacramento Kings played their fifth and final game on Thursday evening, though, giving Robinson one last chance to keep Kings fans from becoming too concerned.
Robinson’s box score still wasn’t overly impressive as he made just six of his 14 shot attempts and only hit half of his six free-throw attempts, but watching him for the fifth time over the course of this week, the rookie showed the reason he was made the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft (and, due to a uniform snafu, he did it all without a name or number on his back).
Robinson had a better attitude than he’s previously showed at Summer League as it didn’t seem like he got down on himself after every missed shot he took and, with that, came an increase in rebounds. The power forward pulled down 16 rebounds while matched up with Jared Sullinger who, for the first time since the Orlando Summer League began last week (eight games of Summer League action thus far for the Celtics), looked underwhelming.
Sullinger and Robinson were likely matches many times throughout the pre-draft process and, had it not been for Sullinger being red-flagged, it sounded like they might be selected in roughly the same spot in this year’s Draft. Robinson showed Thursday that that would have been a mistake, however, as Sullinger was held to just six points on seven shots to go with five fouls and four turnovers.
It’s tough to make too much of a Summer League performance, but Robinson seems closer to being who we thought he’d be following Thursday’s performance.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.