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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Report: T-Rob t-raded

Deal with Blazers frees up cap space for Rockets

Houston Rockets power forward Thomas Robinson (41) pumps his fist after scoring against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 22, 2013, in Houston.

Houston Rockets power forward Thomas Robinson (41) pumps his fist after scoring against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 22, 2013, in Houston.

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Former Kansas University All-America power forward Thomas Robinson will be playing for his third NBA team during the 2013-14 season.

The Houston Rockets, who acquired Robinson from the Sacramento Kings via trade during Robinson’s rookie campaign, have agreed to ship the 6-foot-10 forward to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for two second-round draft picks and the rights to Kostas Papanikolau and Marko Todorovic, it was reported by Yahoo Sports and several other media outlets Sunday.

The Rockets now have the salary-cap space available to sign Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard, who is a free agent. USA Today reports that the Rockets will offer Howard a four-year, $88 million contract.

The Robinson deal, which will slice nearly $7 million off the Rockets’ payroll over the next two seasons, won’t become official until the NBA’s moratorium on free-agency signings ends July 10. Houston also waived Carlos Delfino and Aaron Brooks on Sunday.

Robinson — he will make $3.5 million next season — averaged 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in 70 games as a backup in 2012-13. He joins former KU center Jeff Withey in Portland. Seven-footer Withey was a second-round pick of Portland in Thursday’s NBA Draft.

The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman writes that, “The Blazers were more than willing to facilitate the cap-saving move for Houston because they are in desperate need for frontcourt help. All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge is the only proven power forward on the roster. With his addition, the Blazers have three of the top 11 picks in the 2012 NBA draft: Robinson, point guard Damian Lillard (No. 6) and center Meyers Leonard (11).”

Freeman on Sunday wrote that the “Blazers were ecstatic about landing Kansas 7-footer Jeff Withey in the second round of the draft. One team source labeled Withey a ‘steal,’ revealing that the Blazers already have turned down two trade offers since draft night for the agile, shot-blocking specialist who is coveted by NBA analytics gurus.”

Comments

David Dohrmann 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Living in Portland, we feel like we just won the JHawk lottery this week. Getting Withey was amazing, and T-Rob icing on the cake. The great thing is that Portland will be good for these two as well. Blazers ranked 24th in rebounding last year, have no established center, and lacked a strong back-up power forward for LaMarcus Aldridge. Gives T-Rob a great opportunity to learn the position, something that he never got last year. He should get a lot of minutes, both he and Withey will get excellent coaching (Terry Stotts is great!), and the core members of the team are good guys, unselfish on the court. Of course, the other advantages of coming to Portland include ... no mosquitos, humidity, tornadoes, etc., and we're just getting started.

After a game against the Kings last December T-Rob met with a group of KU fans that attended on a Blazers promotion, and one couldn't wish for a better ambassador of KU basketball. He answered some questions and talked a bit, and when a Kings guy signaled it was time to leave, he stayed to meet and shake hands with each one of us, which he didn't have to do. In addition to a "good motor," the guy also has a big heart.

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mikehawk 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Why is it no one seems to ever talk about Jeff's nice touch and, I think, potential to build off of his touch to develop a really effective outside shot. Rim protection, absolutely, particularly from the week side. But his real value is developing a spot up short jumper or three point shot on the offensive end. The problem will be when he gets matched up with a bigger, stronger player who can post him up down low. He doesn't, at least not yet, have the strength to hold the really strong players off. But, in the NBA, it is about match ups everywhere. It could break either way, but I think Jeff has a chance to have a long and lucrative NBA career as a backup shot blocker, spot up shooter who is a legitimate "footer."

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Darius80 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Reuniting Withey and T-Rob in Portland! Love it! RCJK

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Woody Cragg 9 months, 3 weeks ago

The NBA may be the dream for many, but most others it's just a means to an end-money. Europe can pay awfully well also. Keith has made several million there, & at one time was, I believe, the highest paid player at or over about 2 mill a year. The work ethic & effort really separates the men from the boys in professional BB. But if they invest wisely the first couple of years on a lottery contract, they can be set for life & not broke in a few short years. Driving & recking Maseratis won't sustain that scenario for long. JMO.

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Randy Bombardier 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Reading many of the comments above and I know this is not true of T-Rob exactly but IMO player development at the collegiate level is in caps whereas in the NBA it is all lower-case. In other words why go to the show if you still have a lot of undeveloped potential. Sure, you may get drafted but what happens if you get injured or you get buried in the roster, traded from team to team and then after 6 years you're just a memory? Maybe T-Rob is an example after all. If he doesn't stay til he is a senior he doesn't make the NBA, period.

I think Xavier may end up being a case in point. One and done is a big mistake. I hope Ben just explodes in the NBA but if he doesn't and fades away I think it could be said that he could have used another year or two at this level. Good reason I think with the caliber of recruits we are getting now to play the toughest schedule we possibly can and even schedule teams with great matchups with our key guys to help their development along. For instance last year I thought that young Michigan big got the best of Withey at the most inopportune time.

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Woody Cragg 9 months, 3 weeks ago

All these theories, stats, & thoughts make it obvious that there really is a lack of chemistry on teams at the next level when it becomes a job. At least not at the degree in D-1. After work, all these highly paid workers go their own ways, with their own friends, and in many cases, their families. Many vets don't just go home & chill out & play video games with whomever... Trust me, traveling all the time is a grind, no matter how you do it. If Thomas & Jeff can stick together both should develop significantly. Look at the twins. If more GM's could get (afford) that pic, we'd surely see more of it. Any great champ team in any sport most often refers to "chemistry" as a huge factor in success, and as today's pro athletes are compensated so highly, it becomes harder & harder to have them all experience the same level of social involvement when not in the gym, on the road, or in the clubhouse, which endears itself to caring about each other and forming bonds & friendships. So after all that schpiel, which is more accurate? Does society create economics, or does economics create society? That oughta stir up the pot rather well-an old econ professor laid that on us 40 years ago and we still can't figure it out or agree..

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Randy Bombardier 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Sweeeeeet! Now I have two reasons to finally go to Blazer games.

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bennybob 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Excited to watch a Portland v. Phoenix game next year. We could potentiall see an all-KU front court matchup.

Ill put my money on the Morrii over T-Rob + Withey

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Bryce Landon 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm happy that T-Rob and Jeff will be able to reunite in Portland. However, isn't it cause for concern that the #5 overall pick is now on his third team in less than two years? The folks at CBS Sports Radio seemed to think so...

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jaybate 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Part 5

The Morri show what happens when you can do pretty much everything you could do in D1 in the pros, only about 2/3s as well. You get to play 20 mpg in a rotation, often as a back up.

The most counter intuitive phenomenon I found in the numbers was a decline in free throw shooting from D1 to pros. The FT line is the same in both games. No one has a hand in your face at the free throw line at either level. I expected little fall off in FT shooting. WRONG! Apparently the L is a psychologically disorienting place for players and their concentration at the line suffers. The transition from stars to average or less players is hard on confidence. Maybe the absense of college coaches hounding them to practice their free throws is also a factor. Whatever, a significant number shoot free throws significantly worse in the pros than in college. So: if they started out a borderline acceptable free throw shooter in D1, they may well fall below that threshold because of the stresses of life as a professional.

So: as with most things in life, causes of failure and underperformance emerge from a tangle of drivers that often interrelate and exacerbate other problems to the point that the player just is not a credible option for a starting player in the NBA.

P.S.: Two other underlying factors make it tough to go from D1 to Pro. First, players add a business life they never had to deal with in the past, if they have any brain function at all and so maintain a significant level of interest in their investments. Second, most begin to get in family ways and families, as even we mortals know, suck a significant portion of the life and concentration out of any adult. Yes, we focus harder, because we have innocents depending on us, but the innocents invariably make us have to divide our focus. And as any married parent heading a household knows, there is a helluva difference between having kids out of wedlock that you see at Christmas break, while an unwed mother raises them for you, versus being the head of a household with a home, fleet of cars, inlaws on drugs, grand parents in dementia, schools demanding your kid quit hacking the school network, and so on. Battling a college professor for an A with the aide of a tutor is kid stuff compared to trying to keep agents and lawyers from milking you to death. Battling a co-ed girl friend that breaks your heart on the Hill is kid stuff compared to marriage to a gold digger that hires vicious lawyers to use the threat of taking your kids in order to bargain for more than half of everything you have.

The NBA: its the cold cruel world, even with the big bones.

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jaybate 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Part 4

If you were a dominant stud in the paint in D1, you have to be able to keep doing it in the pros, or you are toast. Wayne and Cole could dominate the paint in D1, but they couldn't in the pros, and so they were toast, regardless of how much skill they had, and Wayne especially had a lot of skill, to go along with his brawn. But dominating the paint at 6-9 and 260 in D1 , where you are usually the biggest, is not the same as dominating the paint in the pros, where Wayne was average sized and often giving up 3-5 inches. His back to the basket game never translated to guys bigger than him. Coles mad stork game never translated when the guys were 3-5 inches taller and stronger.

Julian exemplifies what happens when you can't dominate in the paint, you can't beast in open floor, and you can't shoot squat from trey in the L. You hang on while they have to pay you, then you go to Europe. Everyone knew Julian couldn't shoot the rock, but what is most amazing is how his ability to rebound withered in the L.

Darrell Arthur exemplifies what happens when you can do almost everything you did in D1 in the pros but a weakness central to your position shows up in the pros. Darrell was never a monster rebounder in D1. Decent, but not consistently exceptional. When he got to the pros, that average rebounding turned into numbers not much better than a perimeter player in the pros. Darrell is also playing with bigs that can step out and make treys and Darrell cannot do that. So he has to sit for any big that can stretch it.

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jaybate 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Part 3

What jumped out first in the research, but doesn't show in presenting only single seasons above, was that despite Mario's sixth man heroics and two rings for Miami, Brandon Rush, despite a cruel run of injuries and some personal funks, has had probably a more substantial professional basketball career in terms of games played and started. Brandon actually has played and started a lot of games. Mario was forced into starting a lot of games his first season, because of an injury to a teammate, but since then, Mario has been a rotation backup. But this was incidental to what I was trying to understand, which was: what happened to these guys in the NBA? Why didn't they do better? even in Brandon's and Mario's cases?

Well, it seems to break out this way. To do well in the NBA, you have to:

1) be able to keep doing well what you were best at in D1, plus not have any big holes in your game show up;

2) avoid injuries;

3) not lose your confidence.

This may seem like obvious-mastering and I suppose it is.

If you were a great gun that could defend in D1, you have to be able to keep doing it in the pros, or you are toast. Brandon, when his head is on and he is uninjured, can do in the pros what he did in D1 close, but not quite as well, so he is toast. Point blank, Tyshawn can't get to the rim at will in the pros and he can't shoot as well from trey either because its a longer trey and guys worry less about his penetration speed.

0

jaybate 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Part 2

I just thought it would be interesting to go down the list and compare the senior season MPG, FG%, FT%, 3PT% and RPG of these players's last season at KU with their season of most games played in the NBA. KU stats are before the / and NBA stats are after the /. No D-League stats are counted. Just the show.

Player, MPG, FG%, FT%, 3PT%, RPG/MPG, FG%, FT%, 3PT%, RPG

Wayne 34,55%, 81%, 29%, 11/9.6, 48%, 88%, 0%, 2

Julian 28, 55%, 61%, 23%, 7.8/13, 50%, 61%, 33%, 2.1

Brandon 30, 43%, 78%, 42%, 5.1/30, 42%, 63%, 37%, 3.1

Mario 30, 52%, 75%, 47%, 3.1/32, 42%, 77%, 37%, 2.8

Darrel 25, 54%, 70%, 17%, 6.3/20, 50%, 81%, 0%, 4.3

Cole 27, 56%, 68%, 0%, 9.8/7.1, 53%, .44, 0%, 1.9

Xavier 27, 46%, 78%, 42%, 4.4/12, 41%, 63%, 36%, 3.9

Mook 28, 57%, 69%, 34%, 7.6/21, 43%, 65%, 38%, 4.1

Kieff 24, 59%, 67%, 42%, 8.3/21, 72%, 35%, 73%, 4.8

Josh 20, 37%, 76%, 36%, 2.2/8, 35%, 79%, 13%, .5

TRob 32, 51%, 68%, 50%, 12/16, 42%, 58%, 00%, 4.7

Ty 33, 48%,69%, 38%, 2.3/5.8, 37%, 56%, 46%, .5

For die hard quantoids, I did not break things out per minute played, because I was more interested in gross percentages.

And I probably left someone out that should have been included.

And the flipping stats are a pain to look at because I was too lazy to create a good template.

And I'm not addressing who was in front of each of these players.

Still, here is a little qualitative analysis of a little quantitative food for thought about the stochastic challenges of becoming a professional basketball player.

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Andy Tweedy 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm happy for both of these guys, but I'm so sick of hearing about how everybody that every team drafts in the second round is a "steal." I simply can't imagine that both these guys can't play in the NBA for a long time though, they both clearly have a good work ethic, or we wouldn't have seen the kinds of improvements we did at KU.

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jaybate 9 months, 3 weeks ago

"D1 to Pro: Get Ready Not to Do as Well...at Almost Everything!"

Part 1

Its hard not to notice that except for Mario Chalmers getting some rings as a sixth man, Bill Self's players aren't lighting up the NBA.

Bill wins around 30 games, a title and gets in the Madness each season.

One to three of Bill's players get drafted.

Some play 15-20 mpg like the Morri.

Some like Julian Wright lack a major skill, like Julian Wright who can't shoot, and circle the periphery.

Some like Cole Aldrich, turn out to be too small to do what they did in D1.

Some like Brandon and Xavier have injuries and barely hang on.

Some like Tyshawn have no injuries and barely hang on.

Some like Josh Selby hang on briefly, or like Sherron not at all, despite promising performances in try outs, or D-Leagues.

Some hang on in the D-League, like Brady.

And some like Wayne Simien hang around but then answer a higher calling.

This post is no knock on Self, or these fine, former KU Jayhawks. I suspect other blue blood programs have a similar distribution of success stories, journeymen, hangers on and washouts. The NBA is a big step up. Everyone with higher order brain function should get this.

0

KemDooKU 9 months, 3 weeks ago

How sweat to play basketball and get paid millions to do it - There is so much enjoyment playing basketball and to think these guys get a Brinks truck to do it -

0

KansasComet 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Thomas Robinson did posterize Howard last preseason...

5

REHawk 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Thomas averaged 4.8/4.5 in how many minutes?

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jaybate 9 months, 3 weeks ago

TRob,

It may not seem like it now, but you are living a charmed life to get out of that humidity!

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jaybate 9 months, 3 weeks ago

TRob and Jeff?

May as well trade for tyshawn and sign Trav and EJ and reunite the team with the most heart I ever saw.

3

Craig Carr 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Wish TRob well, only Coach Self could have made a very limited player a top 5 pick. Hope he has been very smart and invested wisely.

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Sam Constance 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Watch out for Portland's second unit!

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Dan Pawlowski 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I hope they plan on giving TRob some serious minutes. I think the reunion with Jeff will be good for all involved

1

jgkojak 9 months, 3 weeks ago

They should have instant chemistry - Withey played opposite Robinson for a whole Nat Championship game season - there should be some familiarity there - I guess I'll have to catch a few Portland games next season

3

Jesse Johnson 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Sounds like a situation where both he and withey can get some pt.

1

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