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A Defensive Star in the Making

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Filed under Analysis, Big Post, Featured, Hoops, Practice Coverage.

A Defensive Star in the Making

Find out why Kings coaches and front office members believe Thomas Robinson could develop into one of the League’s premier defenders. Plus, which  player has found a new way to commute to practice?

Motor:

  1. one that imparts motion;
  2. a source of power, energy, or motive force

The above word – as defined by Merriam-Webster and Google Dictionary, respectively – is one Thomas Robinson’s Kings teammates most often use to describe the unyielding hustle of their rookie teammate.

“(It means to) just be relentless, just keep playing hard (and) don’t stop on the play,” explains No. 0. “It’s pretty much what got me here.”

During Sacramento’s recent scrimmages, Robinson has frequently made his presence felt, gracefully running the floor, posting up inside and slamming home powerful put-back dunks.

Following every morning practice in Colorado Springs, the rookie stayed on the hardwood well after most of his teammates had left, working on plays and perfecting his midrange jumpshot with Assistant Coach Clifford Ray.

“He’s a cut from the old-school – he’s a blue-collar worker,” says Ray. “He’s going to do everything that it take for him to be a great player, just like he did everything it took for him to be a great college player.”

Even more so than his multifaceted offensive arsenal, Robinson’s versatility and tenacious effort on defense have impressed Head Coach Keith Smart.

“I think this guy’s got a chance to be a top-eight defensive player,” says the Kings leader. “He has guarded our (small forwards) in camp, our (power forwards) and switched out on our (point guards) and (shooting guards).

“I think he has the (chance) to be an outstanding – I’m not talking about a good, but an outstanding – defensive player.”

Kings President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie has also praised the Kansas product after closely scouting him prior to the 2012 NBA Draft and then watching him thrive during the week’s scrimmages in El Paso County.

“He’s got a lot of speed and quickness, he plays hard (and) he’s going to be able to guard multiple positions,” says Petrie.

“He just has great length, he’s got quick feet, he’s fast, physically very strong, he’s got long arms and he plays with intensity, so he has the potential to be a terrific defender.”

Robinson has graciously accepted the praise on his two-way game, which he says will help him further develop into a defensive standout.

“It means a lot, because I think I’m allowed to step out and defend multiple positions because of my abilities,” says the Sacramento draftee. “To hear (them) say that is a big thing for me.”

On the final day of camp in Colorado, the 21-year-old up-and-comer revealed he has a firmer grasp of the Kings playbook while learning to trust and depend on his new teammates both on and off the court.

“(I’ve learned) the offense, pretty much. We’ve just been getting offensive and defensive positions, how to help your teammate – that’s pretty much been the main focus,” he said.

“(We’ve grown closer) just doing little activities outside of the court … just being here together, hanging around the guys and getting to know each other better.”

Robinson’s hard work and enthusiasm haven’t gone unnoticed in the Kings locker room, where the Sacramento veterans have lauded his determination.

“The kid plays hard,” says eighth-year swingman Francisco Garcia. “He doesn’t take off any possessions and he has a bright future ahead of him.”

Free Throws

– In addition to generally staying late after practice to shoot extra jumpers, Kings guard Isaiah Thomas has found another way to get in an extra workout – riding his bicycle to work.

“I’m kind of mad I rode it because I worked very hard today, and now I have to ride it all the way back home,” said a chuckling Thomas. “(The Kings Practice Facility is) about three miles away, so it’s just extra (cardiovascular exercise) I’m getting in.”

– Stay current with Kings.com for updates throughout preseason action. Plus, join the team as it hosts the Phoenix Suns at home on Wednesday at 7 p.m. To get tix, Click Here.

Fan Take

How many points and rebounds will Thomas Robinson tally in his Kings preseason debut?

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