Houston Rockets Land Their Next All-Star?
Before we get too deep into the hows and whys of the moves that landed Thomas Robinson in Houston, Marcus Morris in Phoenix and Patrick Patterson in Sacramento, we must first understand Houston’s thinking in just about any deal. The Rockets are a team that is never bad enough to land a high draft pick, though they have also failed to qualify for the playoffs for the past three seasons. They’ve been stuck in NBA limbo, and as such they have looked for ways to land players via trade who were taken as high draft picks.
Principally, the way the Rockets view the acquisition of Robinson is that they just landed the fifth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
When Robinson made the decision to jump to the NBA after three seasons at the University of Kansas, he made it with the utmost confidence that he was ready to be an impact player at the NBA level. In fact, at the NBA pre-draft camp in Chicago last year he made some bold statements to the effect that he was perhaps the best rookie in the class. It was surprising that he dropped as far as fifth, and even more surprising that he failed to find a spot in the rotation on a Sacramento team that was sorely in need of strong frontcourt play.
The Rockets hope he steps onto the Toyota Center court ready to make up for lost time.
Robinson’s pro numbers are hardly worth noting, as his playing time with the Kings was more or less non-existent. What the Rockets are interested in are his ratings as a junior at Kansas, where he ranked in the 78th percentile on the offensive end, getting the vast majority of his points on post-up possessions, and in the 90th percentile on the defensive end, where he could handle just about anything the opposing team threw at him.
Unlike Patterson, who has been starting at power forward for much of the season, Robinson represents a true low-post threat who can create space for Houston’s vast array of long distance shooters.
The way the Rockets look at tonight’s trade is that they just landed their starting power forward of the future, one who could have true star potential. They’re trying to use high draft picks to rebuild the team without actually having to lose enough games to get those high picks, and if Robinson pans out as expected it could turn out to be a brilliant approach.
The Rockets also sent out back-up point guard Toney Douglas as part of this trade, meaning Patrick Beverley will get a shot to earn that spot. Don’t be surprised if the team also looks to re-sign Scott Machado to compete for the role long-term.