Thomas Robinson's career hasn't exactly gone as planned since he was drafted fifth overall in 2012.
While scores of his draft-class contemporaries - first- and second-rounders alike - have reveled in All-Star nods and big-money extensions, Robinson has been bought out of his rookie deal and played for five teams in four seasons. He's been waived once and traded thrice, and in none of those seasons has he averaged more than 15.1 minutes. Even for the sad-sack Brooklyn Nets this year, the 25-year-old power forward has managed to scratch out just 12.4 per game.
It's worn on him. After agreeing to a buyout with the Denver Nuggets and signing with the Philadelphia 76ers last season, Robinson said he was "tired of getting treated like a rag doll in this league." At the tail end of an unfulfilling season in Brooklyn, he sounds like a man at the crossroads.
"It's about time I become a 20-plus minute player," Robinson said, according to Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game. "I haven't played over 13 minutes my whole career. To me, it's BS. But I'm trying to put that out there that it's about time I become a 20-minute plus player."
With the Nets' starting frontcourt of Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young shut down for the remainder of the season, Robinson has a few games to showcase his abilities before deciding whether or not to pick up his $1-million player option for next year.
He's already starting to see more floor time as the season approaches its conclusion, and has notched double-doubles in each of the last four games, while playing at least 23 minutes in all of them.
"Like I said, it's the end of the season, and the minutes are there, but there's not one (game) I played 20 minutes-plus and I not have a double-double, or whatever the case may be," Robinson said. (He actually has two such games in which he hasn't registered a double-double.) "I want to win, and I will contribute to winning once we recycle things or do whatever the organization is doing, but myself personally, I think that going into this summer, that's what I want anybody to know. That I deserve to play 20-plus minutes."
If Robinson opts out, this offseason may tell if any NBA team shares his view. He's been a bit of an enigma, flashing a valuable skill set - strong rebounding instincts, great speed for his size - while remaining in an overall stunted state of development, never able to put it all together. His offensive game has been particularly stagnant, without any reliable way to score outside of running the break or scavenging for putbacks.
Robinson says he hasn't thought about his player option, but knows he'd like to stay put after years bouncing around.
"I want to stay in Brooklyn," he said. "I've been moving the last four years. I don't want to go anywhere. I just want to be an established player here, and I want to play. I'm not starting anything, I'm not saying I deserve to play or that I have the right to play, I just want to play. I feel like I'm worthy of 20 minutes, and I will give production if I am playing."