Thomas Robinson
Thomas Robinson grabs a rebound for the Brooklyn Nets against the Lakers on Nov. 6, 2015.
(Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images)

Latest Laker: Thomas Robinson

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

Los Angeles is the next destination for former lottery pick Thomas Robinson, who will continue his journeyman path through the NBA with the Lakers, the team announced on Wednesday.

Robinson’s signing brings L.A.’s training camp roster to 19 players with one spot still available. The 25-year-old will have stiff competition in trying to make the 15-man regular-season squad, as he will be up against five fellow power forwards: Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., Yi Jianlian, Zach Auguste and Travis Wear.

The 6-foot-10, 237-pounder has struggled to find consistency in his game (and settings) during his five-year career, having already played for five different teams.

He began as a potential franchise-changer when drafted fifth overall by Sacramento in 2012. Robinson’s decorated college career offered the Kings plenty of optimism, given that he had just come off a Big 12 Player of the Year and First Team All-American season at Kansas.

Robinson was a beast at the college level, leading the entire NCAA in total rebounds (463) and 2-pointers (254), while averaging 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds, which ranked second and first in his conference.

However, Robinson’s success has yet to translate in the NBA, where he has averaged 4.9 points and 4.8 rebounds in his career, while shooting just 43.1 percent on free throws and starting only 11 games.

Still, the Washington, D.C., native remains a high-flying athlete who has shown flashes of potential, particularly last season in Brooklyn.

After being traded during his rookie year, Robinson shuffled around from Houston to Portland to Philadelphia before joining the Nets in 2015.

There, he averaged a modest 4.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 12.9 minutes, but the end of last season saw him playing like the college star who put Kansas on his shoulders.

All four of the highest-scoring games in Robinson’s career came over the final month of the season. Before injuring his knee against Indiana on April 10, he averaged 15.3 points and 13.0 rebounds over his final six games, while shooing 52.6 percent along the way.

Now, much of this had to do with a higher usage rate given that both Brook Lopez and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson were injured at the time, leaving the Nets more opportunities to divvy out.

However, Robinson also appeared much more comfortable during this stretch, finding a rhythm by staying involved in pick-and-rolls and on the boards.

Continuing to average a double-double would be a tall request for Robinson, but he did show that his underwhelming career stats do not necessarily define him.

With a remarkable natural ability to clean the offensive and defensive glass, Robinson will soon have the chance to display the rest of his game.

Several questions will need to be answered, including about his jumper, as he shot just 21.4 percent from outside of five feet las year. Whether he has developed this, his low-post scoring and ball security will be tested at the Lakers’ training camp in Santa Barbara next week.

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