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TUALATIN – Thomas Robinson is 6-10, 240 pounds of pure muscle. He possess a man's man body at the barely legal age of 22. The No 5 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft is an intimidating freak of nature.
Now isn't the time to be opposing teams facing the Portland Trail Blazers because Robinson, in his owns words, is “pissed off.”
“I'm just pissed off,” he told CSNNW.com.
We understand why. He was highly touted coming out of the university of Kansas and for whatever reason, he's on his third team in two years after brief stops in Sacramento and Houston.
No matter the circumstances, it's safe to say that he hasn't has a fair shake in this league, and he echoes that sentiment.
“I feel disrespected,” Robinson went on to say. “A lot of people don't know the ins and outs of this business. That's how it works, man. There's no point in even talking about it. That's the way things work. I'm just ready to play.”
In July in five Summer League appearances with Portland in Las Vegas, Robinson averaged 10.4 points, 12.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks 28.6 minutes per game. In one of those games, he pulled down a Trail Blazers' single-game Summer League record 18 rebounds.
That upside was enough for the Trail Blazers to exercise the third year of Robinson's rookie deal this week. He was recently asked if he felt like he deserved the extension. Robinson thought about it in an self-assessing 10-second span before responding honestly.
“From a numbers standpoint, no. But from where I came from, from a situations standpoint, I think it's fair for me to have it,” he said.
Trail Blazers general manager Neill Olshey, says there really wasn't a lot of thought put into issuing the third year. He's captivated with his potential.
“You guys are going to be incredibly, incredibly surprised just how gifted this kid is when you see him on the court now that he's got renewed energy,” Olshey said. “He's engaged, he knows we're embracing him, he knows we're invested in him, and he has responded.”
Robinson is motivated, and now has some financial security to go with it. But how long can one stay on edge? Will his motor continue to run like we've witnessed in Las Vegas? When adversity hits, will he keep playing with the chip on his shoulders?
He admits to losing his edge last season and becoming discombobulated because of it. His approach from here on out is being the aggressor and remaining the aggressor. He joked that he's no good being the prey.
“I think last year was the first time thinking I was the one being hunted, as far as people coming for me or feeling worried. That was too much pressure,” Robinson said. “I rather be the one chasing somebody down.”
This upcoming season is the first step in accomplishing his goal of simply being respected again.
His teammate Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis, Harrison Barnes, Dion Waiters, Bradley Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Andre Drummond, Terrence Ross are the most talked about players in that 2012 class.
Robinson wants his name re-mentioned with those young stars. In order for that to occur in a hurry, being selected as a participant in the NBA's Rising Stars Challenge event, where the the best rookies and second-year players are placed on two teams, would be a perfect jump-start to his career, he says.
“It's a start. To put me back in that 'I belong in this group' conversation,” he said. “It (Rising Stars Challenge) would be a stepping stone to putting my face back in the group where I belong....I just want to play basketball and get to where I belong in this league.”