The San Antonio Spurs have been very active recently in their attempt to fill their training camp roster, and they may not be done yet.
San Antonio currently has 17 players under contract after the recent signings of David Lee and Patricio Garino. However, the Spurs will likely add a couple of other players before training camp officially starts at the end of September. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders is reporting that one of the players that San Antonio is eyeing is unrestricted free agent Thomas Robinson.
Robinson is very talented but has bounced around the NBA since being selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft. The 25-year-old spent the 2015-16 season with the Brooklyn Nets, marking just the second time the 6-foot-10 power forward has played the entire season with one team.
Robinson appeared in 71 games last year, the most of his career, and produced a career-high eight double-doubles. He finished the campaign averaging 4.3 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 44.7 percent from the field in 12.7 minutes a game. But Robinson was much more productive in his seven starts than he was coming off the bench, contributing 14.6 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.6 steals in those contests.
Including Brooklyn, Robinson has played for five teams in his four-year career – with the Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, and Philadelphia 76ers being the other teams. He has career averages of 4.9 points along with 4.8 rebounds in 265 games.
“I’ve matured so much,” Robinson told Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.
“I see things completely different now. Coming in young, I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to hear, ‘Be a defender! Be a rebounder! That’s all you need to do!’ I didn’t want to hear those things. I’m okay at doing things other than just rebounding and defending, so I didn’t want to just do that. But after all of the trades and constantly hearing that, it sold me. I think the biggest sign of my maturity is the fact that I’m not striving for the same things that I was when I came into the league. I’m not trying to put the ball on the floor and score a lot. Being traded that many times, I looked in the mirror and realized I need to stick with what I do best and all of this will go away.”
Despite Robinson’s nomadic status, he has received rave reviews from coaches and teammates where ever he has gone.
“He worked tirelessly, day and night, while with us,” Blazers assistant coach David Vanterpool said of Robinson.
“He would work out before practice. Then, we would have our team practice, and he would stay after to get shots up or play one-on-one with Will Barton. Then sometimes, he would come back late at night to shoot and work out some more. He wants to grow and improve, but more importantly to him, he wants an opportunity to show how good can be. He works [hard] to make sure that he’s prepared when that opportunity comes. I think he’s also learned a lot about what type of player he is and how he can contribute to his team’s success.”
If Robinson does sign with the Spurs, he would provide interior scoring, rebounding, and added depth to the frontcourt. Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, David Lee, and Dewayne Dedmon are the only true post players on San Antonio’s roster.
San Antonio is way over the salary cap, so Robinson would likely only receive the veteran’s minimum with very little guaranteed money from the team. However, the Spurs will likely have one or two open roster spots when training camp commences, as only 14 of the 17 players have fully guaranteed deals.
Robinson would likely be in a battle with Ryan Arcidiacono, Bryn Forbes, and Garino for a spot on the 15-man roster. However, rookie Davis Bertans is slated to earn just $543,471 this season, so his spot on the team is likely tenuous at best.
Arcidiacono and Forbes likely have the biggest obstacles to overcome in the battle for the last roster spots. The Spurs already have a crowded backcourt with Tony Parker, Patty Mills, Danny Green, Manu Ginobili, rookie Dejounte Murray, and Simmons already guaranteed spots.
Arcidiacono helped Villanova win the 2016 NCAA title but he struggled mightily in his summer league stint. The 22-year-old appeared in eight summer league contests for the Spurs, averaging 2.1 points along with 2.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists. The 6-foot-3 point guard shot just 33.3 percent from the floor and 29.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Forbes had a very good summer league campaign, averaging 11.6 points and 3.4 rebounds in 25.2 minutes of action over eight games. The 6-foot-3 combo guard shot 46.3 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from beyond the arc. He scored in double-figures four times — which included a 23-point performance against the Philadelphia 76ers as he made 8-of-10 shots from the field, including 4-of-5 from long-distance.
Garino recently signed a two-year, partially guaranteed contract, per Project Spurs. The 23-year-old was not selected in this year’s draft after spending the previous four years at George Washington University. He played on the Orlando Magic’s Summer League team this year, averaging 12.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.0 steals in 30.7 minutes over three games.
Garino is a deadly long-range shooter that has the ability to D-up. The 6-foot-6 forward was named to the Atlantic-10 All-Defensive Team three times.
According to Fansided, Robinson has also drawn interest from the Indiana Pacers though it is conceivable that he ends up playing oversees next season. The Detroit Pistons were rumored to have interest in Robinson, but there is no word if that is still the case.
[Photo by Chuck Burton/AP Photo]