In one of the larger moves to have taken place during last week’s NBA Trade Deadline (February 22nd), the Sacramento Kings sent rookie Thomas Robinson, as well as teammates Tyler Honeycutt and Francisco Garcia to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich, and Toney Douglas.
It was extremely surprising to see the Kings part ways with Robinson so soon, as the team had used its fifth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft to take Thomas out of the University of Kansas.
Tyreke Evans, a former teammate of his in Sacramento, recently told HOOPSWORLD that Robinson was in need of a change of scenery, and that the rookie was becoming increasingly frustrated with his small role and lack of playing time.
“[Robinson] is going to be pretty good,” Evans told HOOPSWORLD. “He’s young and got a lot of talent. He was a little frustrated here, but the same thing [happened] with Derrick Favors. He was in New Jersey frustrated, went to Utah and now he’s playing good.”
“Patrick is a guy who has been in the league for some time now,” Smart said. “He’s a relatively young pro but he had a chance to play behind some really talented guys in Houston and this year was a year he was coming into his own and having his best year. He’s showed he can shoot the basketball. He’s a big guy at 6’9 and I think he’ll be a big help to us with having some size and also being able to space the floor. I think that helps in the offense when you can space the floor. We’ve had some nice games as of late with our four (position) being spaced.
“It’s always hard when you lose quality young men,” Smart said. “Thomas Robinson is a quality young man. Francisco is a quality person. A super pro in everything he has done. Tyler was a good young man, working to develop. He didn’t get a chance to play a lot but you saw the growth in what he had been doing since year one to now.
“Obviously when you’re not winning at the rate you need to win at changes have to be made. And sometimes good people fall into cracks of those things you’re trying to change. We’re trying to get our team into a position where we can add and sometimes a good player, a promising player, needs to be involved that.”
In 51 games in Sacramento, Robinson averaged 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds in just under 16 minutes per game.
He will make his debut for the Rockets later tonight as they face the Milwaukee Bucks.
Rockets head coach Kevin McHale will start Donatas Motiejunas at power forward, but the minutes will certainly be there for Robinson to develop and work his way into a solid spot in the daily rotation.