There are three things for certain in this world: Death, Taxes and Damian Lillard winning NBA Rookie of the Year in 2013.
While his success with the Portland Trail Blazers certainly ranks as one of the more pleasant surprises amongst rookies this season, there are those first-year players who have failed to make a great impression with their respective teams right off the bat.
Granted, it’s still very early, and the potential is there for serious improvement and growth in the near future, but for now, these five gentleman have to be considered the most disappointing of the lot.
5) F THOMAS ROBINSON (Houston Rockets) *Drafted #5 overall by the Sacramento Kings
2012-13 statistics: 4.8 points, 42% from the field, 4.6 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.4 blocks
I had such high hopes for Thomas Robinson once he was drafted by the Kings. Sacramento was a team in disarray, so one would only assume that Robinson could step in right away and get a heavy dose of minutes.
Well, that never panned out. He was never able to edge out a regular spot in the rotation, averaging just 15 minutes per game. He was recently dealt in a six-player trade to the Houston Rockets, so hopefully he can secure some more stable playing time in a new environment.
I reserve the right to one day remove Thomas from the list, as I believe a change of scenery will do wonders for his game.
Until then, just by looking at his body of work up until now, Robinson has clearly been a major disappointment. He’s a high character guy with a good head on his shoulders, so here’s to him turning it around with the Rockets and making a name for himself in a new city.
4) F PERRY JONES III (Oklahoma City Thunder) *Drafted #28 overall
2012-13 statistics: 29 games played, 1.9 points, 37% from the field, 1.4 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.1 steals, o.2 blocks
It’s hard to call someone drafted as low as Jones a disappointment, but I firmly believed (and still do) that the Thunder got an absolute steal when they took Perry with the 28th pick, despite the potential knee problems he may have had.
Heck, at one point in time, Jones was projected as a top-3 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. That’s saying something.
Trying to carve out a role with a championship-caliber team is always difficult. He was never going to surpass guys like Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison in the rotation, but I thought he’d at least have some sort of positive role by this point. He’s too talented not to be used in some capacity.
Jones has had a few stints with the Tulsa 66ers of the D-League this season, so at least he’s had a chance to play some basketball, rather than rotting at the end of the bench all year. It’s going to take a while for him to adjust to the pro game, but in time, you will see more of Perry Jones III in the NBA. I hope.
3) G KENDALL MARSHALL (Phoenix Suns) *Drafted #13 overall
2012-13 statistics: 25 games played, 2.1 points, 39% from the field, 0.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.2 steals, 0.0 blocks
With Steve Nash ending his tenure with the franchise to try to go win an NBA Championship with the Los Angeles Lakers, the starting point guard slot in Phoenix was fair game.
Phoenix selected guard Kendall Marshall out of the University of North Carolina, hoping that they could strike gold at the position, as several rookie point guards over the years had gone on to become big time players around the league.
I’m not saying Marshall can’t one day reach that level, but for now, he hasn’t shown the fans in Phoenix much of his game to warrant any high praise. He’s spent most of the season as the third-string point guard, getting little to no playing time. It was only after the Suns traded backup guard Sebastian Telfair to the Toronto Raptors that Kendall finally started to see the court on a more consistent basis, if you can even call it that.
With little depth at the position on the roster, Phoenix doesn’t have much of a choice now but to put him out there, develop his skills and hope for the best.