LAS VEGAS – It’s not really the road back, because Thomas Robinson never exited the street in the first place.
Robinson was here a year ago with the Kings as the No. 5 pick and their power forward of the future. When the future turned out to be a few months long, Sacramento dumped him in a trade with the Rockets. Houston then dealt him to Portland as part of shedding salaries to sign Dwight Howard.
In the 2013 incarnation, Robinson is taking advantage of the starting role before training camp and the part of the Trail Blazers that includes LaMarcus Aldridge. Robinson had eight rebounds and two blocks in 28 minutes Saturday against the Suns and followed that up Sunday with 10 rebounds in 28 minutes of the 81-63 loss to the Lakers in the same Thomas & Mack Center.
Non-rookie of the day: Dion Waiters, Cavaliers. Playing on a team with several NBA players or candidates to make the league, the part-time starter last season scored 23 points in 30 minutes as Cleveland beat Memphis 69-58.
Other notables: Jonas Valanciunas continued to put up big numbers for the Raptors, this time getting 19 points and 13 rebounds in the 82-76 win over the Spurs. Brian Roberts had nearly one-third of the New Orleans points – 20 – in the 69-61 loss to the Bucks. And, Robinson, with 10 rebounds for the Trail Blazers.
Rookie of the day: Cody Zeller, Bobcats. The fourth pick in the Draft, showing the offense that Charlotte thinks will make the power forward a good fit to stretch the defense next to post presence Al Jefferson or next to the non-offense of Bismack Biyombo, had 21 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks in the 86-80 win over the Mavericks. Using athleticism and touch, Zeller made 6-of-12 field goals and 9-of-9 free throws.
Other notables: Elijah Millsap, younger brother of Hawks forward Paul Millsap, made 15 free throws and scored 21 points to lead the D-League Select squad to an 81-77 victory over the Clippers. Jack Cooley had 20 points and nine rebounds, and made two of four from behind the arc to show a touch to go with the physical play as a power forward-center, for the Grizzlies. Bonus points for seven fouls.
Coming up: Not satisfied with taking over Los Angeles, the Clippers try to own Las Vegas too when they play the Lakers at Cox Pavilion. Imagine the extra motivation.