Robinson hoping his NBA carousel stops with Nets

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NEW YORK -- "All thanks to GOD! Thank you Brooklyn," Thomas Robinson tweeted.

It was late February 2015, and Robinson was en route to Brooklyn, having just agreed to sign a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets.

The organization required his services. He was excited. Another fresh start loomed.

Or so he thought.

Instead, the Philadelphia 76ers came in at the last second and scuttled everything, claiming Robinson off waivers and preventing him from joining the Nets.

He expected that the Sixers wanted his contract only to help reach the team's required salary floor.

Then they would waive him, and his NBA future would become uncertain yet again.

"I'm like, 'I'm done. I'm out of the league.' That was my complete thought," said Robinson, who finally became a Net after officially signing a two-year, $2 million contract (second-year player option) with Brooklyn.

"Because what Philly was doing during the year was kinda unpredictable. That's just how they game plan, and from the outside looking in until I got there, well, I figured they just picked me up for my salary and then they were going to dump me. And then two days later, I'd be done. That's what I was thinking."

Robinson was upset, to say the least. He described himself as "pissed off."

But things didn't work out the way he expected them to -- in a good way.

"I just didn't understand it, and then I ended up playing more," Robinson said. "I played the most minutes I've played in my career. And what a coincidence, I doubled my numbers."

In 22 games with Philadelphia, Robinson averaged 8.8 points and 7.7 rebounds over 18.5 minutes a night.

He said he played pissed off with a killer instinct. The Nets hope he keeps it up.

The 24-year-old Robinson was selected No. 5 overall in the first round of the 2012 NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings, but he has never been able to live up to his draft status. Brooklyn will be his fifth team in his first four seasons in the league.

Robinson seeks stability, while trying to shed the "bust" label he has been given.

"It's whatever. My checks never stopped coming in. I don't care," Robinson said of being labeled a bust. "But I need [detractors]. If everybody said I was great, I would never be in the NBA. I was unranked in high school, then I got ranked the last month of my [time] in high school. I didn't play my first two years at Kansas, then I played one year and I got to the league. That's my route. That's what happens every time, so I never lost faith. I just know this is the path that I take to get things that I want, so I'm not surprised."

The Nets have always liked Robinson ever since he was a collegiate prospect. Brooklyn general manager Billy King immediately reached out to the 6-foot-10 power forward to express interest once the free agency period opened at midnight on July 1.

"It's cool," Robinson said. "I'm not DeAndre [Jordan] or nobody like that, so when I got that attention for a person like me who's been seeking it and searching for an organization to love me [it meant a lot]. I've been with organizations where the staff loves somebody, and I want that."

King has high hopes for Robinson.

"I just want him to play hard, rebound the basketball and run the floor," King said. "I look at him as an energy guy like Tristan Thompson. A shot goes up, get the rebound, finish it, and play physical, be a physical big."

Robinson did suffer a slight meniscus tear in his right knee working out in New York, but he considers it only a minor setback. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on Wednesday, will begin rehab immediately and is expected to be ready for on-court activities before the start of training camp.

When he was a rookie, Robinson wasn't afforded the latitude that most rookies are in terms of being able to play through their mistakes.

With DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson and Chuck Hayes in front of him on the depth chart, consistent minutes were hard to come by with the Kings.

In fact, it wasn't until he got to Philadelphia that he finally received them.

"I've never once been comfortable, and for the first time in my career I was comfortable in Philadelphia. I'd play 10 games straight with consistent minutes. I could [mess] up a play, but I'm going to keep on playing. And I didn't have to worry about somebody going up to the [scorer's] table to replace me," Robinson said.

Robinson is going to be given an opportunity to play a reserve role behind Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young.

It's up to him to take advantage of it, change people's perceptions of him and resurrect his career.

"Honestly, I'm just anxious to start working," Robinson said. "I'm excited to be here with these guys as a new addition because their drive to get me here was something that caught my attention.

"The first time we tried, it didn't work. I mentioned wanting to be drafted here four years ago, and their interest in me before the season was over was something that kind of drew my attention. I just want it to work out with this team."

The Nets hope it does.