NBA Beat: Robinson also a work in progress for the Rockets

Published: Sunday, Apr. 7, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 7C
Last Modified: Sunday, Apr. 7, 2013 - 8:50 am

There are many reasons and urban legends tied to why someone tosses a pair of shoes on something such as a power line, leaving them to dangle by the laces high above a street.

One thing it does is mark someone's territory, or in the case of Thomas Robinson, reminds the Kings that he was ever with them.

Inside the Kings' practice facility, a pair of white and purple Nike shoes hang from a beam in the rafters. Robinson tossed them there on his last night in Sacramento.

Was there any meaning?

"I was just trying to see if I could get my shoes up there," Robinson said. "Somebody else was in there with me, but I can't say the name."

Those shoes are the lasting memory of Robinson's brief stay in Sacramento.

Robinson was the fifth pick in the 2012 NBA draft – a player the Kings had rated No. 2 on their draft board.

But Robinson played in only 51 games before being dealt to Houston.

Robinson became just the fifth top-five pick dealt in his first NBA season in the lottery era. He joins Derrick Favors, Drew Gooden, Chauncey Billups and Donyell Marshall.

Robinson said being traded so early in his career after being so highly regarded won't provide extra motivation.

"I really don't think it's about where you get picked, it's about opportunity," Robinson said. "I got drafted off what I did in college, not what I did in the NBA. It's a whole different story. Whatever happens from here happens, but my whole career won't be based on trying to prove something."

If Robinson were trying to live up to his draft position, he'd still have a lot of to work to do in Houston.

After averaging 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds in 15.9 minutes for the Kings, Robinson is averaging 4.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in 13.4 minutes for the Rockets in 17 games.

Houston coach Kevin McHale's assessment of Robinson is similar to that of Kings coach Keith Smart: Robinson needs more time to become a big contributor.

With the Rockets working to make the playoffs, the focus isn't on developing Robinson. McHale said there is some one-on-one work, but making Robinson more comfortable with his new surroundings is more important.

"Thomas is just where Thomas is in the developmental stage – a young player," McHale said. "It's always hard when young guys switch teams. You're trying to figure out the NBA, new coaches, new terminology, new style, new defensive concepts, new offensive concepts. So he's just trying to fit in."

Robinson said the trade "was a shock," but the situation is part of the business of the NBA. The rookie said he's comfortable with his role on the Rockets, even if it means not playing all the time, because he knows what to expect.

Robinson said he doesn't look back with sadness on his time with the Kings.

"I don't have any regrets," Robinson said. "I'm glad the Kings gave me a chance and drafted me. They put me in the league."

Stat watch

Four. That's the number of consecutive scoring titles Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant is aiming for, but he'll have to fend off a late charge from New York's Carmelo Anthony, who has the game and green light to keep up his current pace and overtake Durant.

Anthony (28.3 points per game) is averaging 43.7 points in his last three games. Durant leads the NBA (28.4) entering today's Thunder-Knicks game.

Tweet of the week

"RT @JaValeMcGee34 SOMEBODY JUST CAME UP TO ME AND SAID AYE BRO I JUST WANT U TO KNO AINT NO BEEF" I DO NOT KNOW THIS PERSON LOL"

Just another day in the life of Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee, who is one of the more interesting personalities in the NBA.

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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