Well, there’s your 5, LaMarcus Aldridge.
Portland dealt some, to put it politely, friends from overseas on Sunday to the Houston Rockets for Thomas Robinson, the fifth pick in last year’s draft. Robinson is entering his second year away from the Kansas Jayhawks. That year, he was expected to perform outstandingly and met the expectations.
He was a preseason John R. Wooden Award candidate in 2011-12 and went on a tear, taking second in the nation in double doubles that year with 22 and starting all 39 games with the Jayhawks.
He decided to forgo his senior season for the NBA draft. Last year, with the Sacramento Kings and Houston, Robinson averaged 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
So, he will be a project to say the very least. With the Blazers seeming to be all right with letting last year’s starting center J.J. Hickson walk, the plan at the 5 will probably consist of a battle between Robinson and the 11th pick in the 2012 draft, Meyers Leonard.
Leonard is taller and more defined at the 5, but is probably less “tough” than Robinson. Robinson is a little shorter, but battled for rebounds better in college and that is a skill that translates best.
Joel Freeland is the third center, and all three can safely be defined as projects.