Glenn Robinson III awaits his chance with Sixers

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Glenn Robinson III goes for a dunk when he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier this season. (Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

DENVER - Glenn Robinson III knows he has a stellar NBA career in front of him.

The rookie swingman said he feels it during pregame workouts and at practice with the 76ers. He visualizes it when he studies film of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, players he wants to emulate. His motivation to be the best came from being waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 5.

"I learned a lot in regards to how tough and how strong I am" while he waited for a chance to play, said Robinson, who was selected 40th overall by the Timberwolves last June after his sophomore year at Michigan.

The 21-year-old received a lot of criticism for leaving college early.

"I try not to pay attention to that and still keep pushing," he said. "I still believe that one day I'm going to be one of the best players in this league. I have no doubt about that."

Heading into Wednesday's game against the Denver Nuggets, Robinson's only glimpses of star power have come on acrobatic dunks in the layup line.

But nine months ago, he was regarded as one of the steals of the 2014 draft when the Timberwolves selected him in the second round. Two months later, he became the odd man out. Minnesota acquired the first overall pick, swingman Andrew Wiggins, and power forward Anthony Bennett from the Cleveland Cavaliers in a three-team trade involving the Sixers.

Any dreams Robinson had of getting valuable playing time were crushed the moment that trade occurred. He averaged 4.3 minutes, 1.2 points, and 0.6 rebounds in 25 games while playing behind Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad, and Chase Budinger.

The Sixers claimed his rights two days after the Timberwolves released him. However, the only playing time he received with the team heading into Wednesday was seven minutes against the Brooklyn Nets on March 14.

Coach Brett Brown said Tuesday that he'll have to take a look at Robinson at some point.

"I don't feel the pressure yet," Brown said of being forced to play him. "I don't feel that I'm in a rush to make it happen."

Again, Robinson finds himself on a team that is loaded with swingmen. He also is a newcomer, which affects his playing time.

"I came late and Coach is really loyal," Robinson said. "These guys have been around for a long time with him. He kind of owes that to them."

But as a competitor, he wants to play. Robinson has been around the game his entire life. His father, Glenn Robinson Jr., played with four NBA teams, including the Sixers, after being the first overall pick of the 1994 draft. Robinson has been playing organized ball since age 5. This is the first time that he hasn't at least been in the rotation.

"It's a little different," he said of the inactivity. "Seventy games [so far in his career] is a long season and to have go through that - that's two seasons of college. So I think that many games without playing, it's definitely stressful."

Robinson passed on a four-year deal with the Timberwolves that included non-guaranteed years to take a one-year, $507,336 contract. So he'll become a free agent at the conclusion of the season.

The Sixers have expressed interest in keeping him. And the feeling is mutual.

"They've really done a good job with me, just the little time I've been here," he said. "So I would definitely love to come back and play with these bigs [Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel] and this whole team.

"I think we really have a good chance of being a great team."

 


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