Nobody saw this coming. I certainly didn't.
My first reaction upon seeing the trade was disbelief. Then anger (as anyone who has seen my Twitter timeline would realize).
The real maddening part is that appears to be a cost-cutting move at a time when the Maloofs are going to be receiving over $340 million whether the team is sold to a Seattle or Sacramento group.
Kings move was all about cutting costs and not something management enjoyed doing, a source said.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) February 21, 2013
Now, I'm calmer, but I still maintain that this was a bad, unnecessary trade even if it probably made the Kings better in the short term.
But Robinson was just 51 games into his NBA career, on a team where he saw a lot of his minutes in lineups next to Chuck Hayes, who is far from a complement. Robinson still managed to improve, having an especially good stretch in the month of January, before both his minutes and production tapered off in February.
Before we continue, let's take a brief moment to look at what Sacramento gained in this transaction. Cole Aldrich and Toney Douglas are both expiring contracts and aren't big factors. Aldrich has played less in three years in the league than Robinson played this year (809 minutes to 528 minutes) and he might get more of an opportunity here in Sacramento since he does have size and is a pretty good rebounder. Douglas is an inefficient, shoot first Point Guard who probably shouldn't see a minute of court time for Sacramento unless there is an injury.
The real get for the Kings is Patrick Patterson, and he is a good player and a good person. Unlike Robinson, Patterson is an efficient scorer who can score both inside and out, and doesn't turn the ball over nearly as much. Both players are undersized for their position but very strong and athletic. One problem I do have with Patterson however is that he's not much of a rebounder for a big man. His career defensive rebound percentage of 14.0% is about par for a Small Forward. For comparison, Tyreke Evans has a 14.4% Defensive Rebound rate. Those kind of numbers essentially mean Patterson is forever relegated to being a sixth man type of big, like the last Rocket big man the Kings traded for, Carl Landry.
Patterson is a better player and a better fit for Sacramento than Thomas Robinson. Patterson makes the Kings better this year and likely next. But did Robinson really play so poorly that the Kings should have given up on him just barely over halfway through his rookie season? One of the biggest pros about Robinson coming into the draft was how hard of a worker he was. Robinson doesn't strike me as the type of player who will not improve, and as mentioned above, he's already shown improvement this season. The Kings had three more cheap years to see what Robinson could become.
This is a team that is not near playoff contention and hasn't been. That's why this deal doesn't make sense to me. The Kings need long term fixes, not short term ones. Robinson had the chance to be a long term fix and I'm not sure Patrick Patterson does.
I hope I'm wrong. Hell, I hope I even have the chance to be wrong. There are bigger fish to fry for Sacramento Kings fans at the moment than worrying about Thomas Robinson for Patrick Patterson.
On a personal note I'd like to take a moment and appreciate Francisco Garcia, who has been a true professional in his nearly 8 years with the Kings. He will be missed.