Sports Out West

James Harden says Thomas Robinson will succeed with Blazers

Photo by Dirk Hansen / Wikimedia Commons

The conversation turned quickly to NBA basketball when I was catching up with a friend of mine recently, and we both had the same question when talking about the offseason: Will Thomas Robinson finally begin to reach his potential with the Portland Trail Blazers? Houston Rockets star guard James Harden, his former teammate seems to think the answer is affirmative.

“He’s a beast, man. The league better get ready,” Harden said to CSNNW.com. “He knows what his job is, he knows what he’s great at and he does it to the best of his ability. T-Rob is a very hard worker, an excellent rebounder and he’s definitely skilled for someone of his size. I have no doubt about it that he’ll turn his career around in Portland.”

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what’s kept Robinson from producing more at the NBA level. He was highly-regarded as a prospect who was ready to play right away. Often times in the league, a player’s success is congruent with opportunity, he may be in line to get the best one he’s had to this point. 

 As he dons his third NBA jersey after being months removed from his rookie campaign, Robinson has a lot to prove after being drafted out of Kansas with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft. In 70 career games with Houston and the Sacramento Kings, he averaged 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest. His minutes were limited — he averaged just 15.9 with Sacramento and 13.0 with Houston. Portland has a young crop of players who will all be fighting for a chance to prove themselves, and Robinson figures to be in the mix to compete for a primary backup role behind LaMarcus Aldridge

In the Las Vegas Summer League this offseason, he’s already starting to turn things around and prove Harden to be prophetic in his statement. He set a franchise record with 18 rebounds against the Chicago Bulls and averaged 10.4 points, 12.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 28.6 minutes per game in five games. He has an NBA body at just 22 years-old and won’t need to fill out in order to be able to meet the physical demands of the league.

That alone is reason enough to believe that he’ll have staying power in the NBA. Portland could give him the platform to show anyone who thought otherwise that he’s no bust. 

Photo by Dirk Hansen / Wikimedia Commons

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.