Portland Trail Blazers: Counting down the most interesting Draft player comparisons in team history

CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) /
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Portland Trail Blazers
Thomas Robinson, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /

Thomas Robinson, Kansas: 2009-10 – 2011-12

Was compared to:

It feels almost criminal to say now, but Thomas Robinson was actually selected one spot ahead of Damian Lillard in the 2012 NBA Draft. Which almost kind of maybe means the Portland Trail Blazers had two selections in the top-six selections, since Robinson a member of Portland’s 54-win team in just the second year of his career.

Robinson served as the understudy to top-tier big LaMarcus Aldridge at a time in which he was jousting against the likes of Blake Griffin and Kevin Love for supremacy, and the claim as the power forward of the future. If Draft experts had been accurate in the projection, the Blazers would’ve had Aldridge and the next Griffin at the same time.

From a specs standpoint, Robinson matches Griffin’s size, and maybe has him beat. He measured in with a 7.325 wingspan, which prompted one scout to declare that if he were two inches taller, he might challenge the mighty Anthony Davis for the No. 1 pick. And his 35.5-inch vertical doesn’t put him head-to-head with Blake Griffin’s 36, but he’s certainly at the eyelash. To boot, he was the first unanimous All-American since 2009, a fella from Oklahoma by the name of Blake Griffin. Maybe you’ve heard of him?

Timing is of essence here, too. This isn’t 2019, where he’s being compared to an artist formerly known as Blake Griffin; this is Rookie of the Year, All-Star in year uno Griffin.

And yes, that turned out to be overzealous. Robinson was an amazing energy guy in Portland, who shined brightest when it mattered most. His junior season created quite the rave, and nearly ended with a national championship.

These days, Robinson plays for Khimki, picking up reserve minutes behind Jonas Jerebko and Devin Booker (a different Devin Booker). Over the years, his game still looks about the same. He’s still a menace as a rim-runner, he’s shown glimpses of the jumpshot, and he can dunk on anyone. I guess in some ways, he did live up to one “poor man’s Blake Griffin” comparison. But the Kings — especially now that they’re $9 million negative in the luxury tax — probably still want their money back.