Thomas Robinson, when the season begins, will be playing for his third team in two years. He was drafted by the Kings, traded mid-season to the Rockets and traded again in the offseason to the Trail Blazers.
The last top-five pick to play for so many teams in his first two years was drafted in 1997, and Robinson isn’t happy he’s experienced so much more upheaval than other recent top picks.
“I’m just pissed off,” he told CSNNW.com.
“I feel disrespected,” Robinson went on to say. “A lot of people don’t know the ins and outs of this business. That’s how it works, man. There’s no point in even talking about it. That’s the way things work. I’m just ready to play.”
“I think last year was the first time thinking I was the one being hunted, as far as people coming for me or feeling worried. That was too much pressure,” Robinson said. “I rather be the one chasing somebody down.”
That last top-five pick to play for three teams in his first two years was Chauncey Billups, who went on to a pretty remarkable career that included an NBA Finals MVP. After being traded from the Celtics to the Raptors to the Nuggets, Billups kept working on improving his game. He wasn’t stubborn about remaining a scoring guard and refined his passing skills. Most importantly, he was driven to get better.
It sounds like Robinson is emulating that drive. The question is whether he changes his game. Robinson doesn’t have the size to bang inside like he did at Kansas, but he can still be an effective rebounder and hustle player. The key step is choosing to fill that role, and that very well could determine whether Robinson sticks in Portland.