Despite Thomas Robinson’s lack of court time, it is apparent that Portland is the place for him. He has played more efficiently in 9 games this season than he did all of last season—and he stands to keep improving with the attention of the team. Averaging an unfortunate career low in minutes played (10.8) behind LaMarcus Aldridge, Robinson is averaging a career high in points per game (5.8).
That may not sound like much, but consider the pace. Last year, Thomas Robinson averaged 4.8 points in 15.1 minutes of play. That additional point per game, paired with four fewer minutes, does astounding things for his per 36 metric (statistics scaled to 36 minutes of play). While not a perfect measure, per 36 gives us some idea what bench players could produce with starter minutes.
Thomas Robinson Per 36 2012-2013: 11.4 points, 10.7 rebounds
Thomas Robinson Per 36 2013-2014: 19.3 points, 11.5 rebounds
Yes, it’s only been 9 games, but at a certain point we have to acknowledge trends as sustainable. Those 9 games account for more than 10% of the regular season, and Robinson’s usage should only climb from here, with even better results as he continues to develop as a player. The offense is not currently structured around him, but he’s been Portland’s most productive bench player by leaps and bounds.
If you’ve been following the math, you’ve probably already realized that unless Robinson has been spraying more than Mo William to reach those 5.8 points per game, his field goal percentage must be up. Not only has his field goal percentage risen, it has spiked. With the Portland Trail Blazers, Thomas Robinson is shooting an unprecedented 10% higher from the field than he did his rookie year.
Thomas Robinson field goal percentage 2012-2013: 43.0%
Thomas Robinson field goal percentage 2013-2014: 52.6%
This is all remarkably encouraging. Robinson’s offensive production in the NBA has always been somewhat of a question mark. He has a cited tendency to get inside his head and ruin his own rhythm, with high defensive potential as his saving grace, but his growth as a player is starting to show. In time, the 22 year old power forward could be one of the Trail Blazers’ most valuable assets.