FanShot

Blazrers get a "C-" in Thomas Robinson trade

7

"Blazers acquire last year's No. 5 pick" sounds a lot better than "Blazers acquire rookie traded twice in the past five months." I'm leaning toward the latter being a more accurate descriptor of Robinson. Certainly, there's context to both moves. Robinson never had a clearly defined role in Sacramento and never got a chance to play in Houston, which was flush with young big men. Still, those teams know Robinson better than anyone else in the league, and the low esteem in which they held him seems telling. What if Robinson was never a particularly good prospect? If you paid close attention to last week's look back at WARP projections past, you noticed that Robinson was ranked just 21st. His translated college statistics correctly indicated that Robinson was going to struggle to finish against more athletic defenders. Since Robinson is barely 22, there's plenty of time for him to reinvent himself, but that will most likely be as an energy role player. It's rare for a player as ineffective as Robinson was as a rookie to develop into a quality starter, let alone a star. Portland surely looks at the price for Robinson as low. GM Neil Olshey has indicated he viewed Papanikolaou as a trade asset rather than a potential part of the Blazers' future, and Portland can always purchase second-round picks using Paul Allen's ample pocketbook. The biggest cost might be the alternative uses for Robinson's salary. At $3.4 million, he doesn't come cheap, and the move likely knocks the Blazers out of the running for Nikola Pekovic in free agency. That's why I probably would have passed on this deal.

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