Harden thinks Thomas Robinson will be fit in with Portland

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Thomas Robinson had a nice Summer League in Las Vegas. He’s a plus rebounder that not only gets the balls in his position but also takes them away from other guys, and he averaged 12.8 rebounds a game. He also averaged 10.4 points and 1.2 blocks through five games.

However, the shooting woes were still there — he shot 37 percent. He struggled to either finish inside or consistently hit a midrange jumper.

Genuine concerns about if he could overcome those shooting woes and take care of the ball (he can be turnover prone) are why the No. 5 pick from the 2012 daft — a guy taken in front of Damian Lillard and Harrison Barnes — was traded from Sacramento to Houston, then from Houston to Portland in a salary dump (so they could sign Dwight Howard).

I don’t know if you can actually make a comeback after just one year in the league, but Robinson is going to try to revive his career as the backup to LaMarcus Aldridge in Portland this season.

James Harden told Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com that he thinks Robinson can do it.

“He’s a beast, man. The league better get ready,” Harden told CSNNW.com. “He knows what his job is, he knows what he’s great at and he does it to the best of his ability. T-Rob is a very hard worker, an excellent rebounder and he’s definitely skilled for someone of his size. I have no doubt about it that he’ll turn his career around in Portland.”

It’s going to take some time, Portland needs to focus on player development with him and let it play out for a couple years. The guy can rebound and the athleticism is not in question, but he just has to get more comfortable scoring at the NBA level and taking care of the ball. He has to value possessions more.

Harden thinks Robinson can do it.

“Oh he’ll definitely stick in this league,” Harden said. “He has a great chance. He has so much upside. That motivates him, other teams giving up on him. He has the chance to do something special and I believe he’ll get it done.”

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.