The 2012 draft class was nothing too special. Although it did contain several big names that NBA fans recognize now, the majority consisted of run of the mill players who are either bench players or out of the NBA entirely.
2011-2012 was not a season fit for a king to Sacramento as they saw two head coaches at the helm on top of winning a measly 22 games.
When the 2012 draft lottery was announced, it was no surprise that they had the number five overall pick. But the real question was, who would Sacramento take with that fifth pick?
On draft night, Anthony Davis was selected first, which was an obvious pick as he was touted as the consensus number one selection. Davis was followed by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal, and Dion Waiters.
Still left on the board were the likes of Damian Lillard, Harrison Barnes, and Andre Drummond. But instead the Kings went for Thomas Robinson, a power forward out of Kansas. Robinson was immediately followed by Lillard, Barnes, Terrence Ross, then Andre Drummond.
In the second round, the Kings had the 36th overall selection. This was no ordinary second round and the Kings had a chance to strike gold again in round two just as they did the year before in Isaiah Thomas.
Jae Crowder and Draymond Green were taken off the board right before the Kings were ready to select. Sacramento went for Orlando Johnson who was immediately traded to the Indiana Pacers. Three picks later, Khris Middleton was chosen, and right after Middleton was Will Barton.
The Kings had their chance in the draft, but good fortune did not shine on the front office.
Robinson was a rebounding machine in his junior year in college with the ability to score as well. The Kings’ front office thought that he would be the perfect piece to complement Cousins down low as Robinson was more athletic while Cousins relies more on pure skill.
Unfortunately, this never came to fruition and Robinson played a total of 51 games in Sacramento before being traded to the Rockets during his rookie year.
During his short stint in Sacramento, Robinson didn’t amount to much, scoring 4.8 points and grabbing 4.7 rebounds per game. I swear his rebounding numbers could have been higher, but Robinson had a case of butter fingers. He dropped way too many potential rebounds during his rookie campaign in Sacramento that I believe it was one of the reasons the Kings shipped him off.
Robinson spent five uneventful months in Houston before being traded to Portland in the offseason. Robinson spent a season and a half in Portland and even began showing promise in his second season with the Trailblazers as he upped his points per game to 5.7 and rebounds per game to 5.6 while playing less time than he did in Sacramento.
But that wasn’t enough for Portland to keep Robinson. As the trade deadline approached, Portland sent Robinson to Denver and was waived by the Nuggets three days later.
Robinson was picked up by the 76ers soon after and since then, spent time bouncing around the NBA going to both Brooklyn and Los Angeles to play.
After Robinson knew his time in the NBA had come and gone, but his desire to play had not, Robinson headed overseas. He has played in both China and Russia (where he is now currently) while even having a brief stint back in the states in the G League.
Looking back now, Kings fans hang their heads in shame knowing that Lillard was chosen right after Thomas Robinson. What could have been if the front office made a competent pick? This would become a trend for the Sacramento Kings in NBA Drafts for years to come.