The perception of those around the Philadelphia 76ers organization versus those who aren't has been one of the more entertaining storylines of the team's rebuild.
Some will tell you the team has developed a plan to give itself the best chance at getting top-tier talent, while also having the ability to develop players who otherwise may not have had NBA looks. Many will tell you the Sixers are destroying the game of basketball, choosing to become bottom feeders by filling the team with no names and "patsies" in order to continue to lose games.
In everything, perception is key. Power forward Thomas Robinson was just one of a majority of people who believed the Sixers were nothing more than a mere joke.
"I thought the same thing everybody from the outside thinks, and I’ll leave it at that," Robinson said with a wry smile before Wednesday's Wizards game.
Selected fifth overall in 2012 by the Sacramento Kings, Robinson hadn't enjoyed the career he thought he would. He played rather sparingly throughout his career, bouncing from Sacramento to Houston to Portland. After being traded by the Trail Blazers in February to Denver, the Nuggets opted to waive him immediately.
Needing some front court depth and hoping to find some untapped potential, the Brooklyn Nets reportedly planned on signing Robinson to a ten-day contract when he became a free agent. The only problem was that he was claimed by the Sixers before ever clearing waivers, much to the ire of Nets fans and Robinson himself.
Robinson admitted he was rather frustrated by the whole situation. "At that time I was mad. During the heat of the moment I was upset about it, but after things sunk in once again you gotta realize it’s a business, and things like that happen," he said.
"And then once I got here my whole perspective changed. "
It's a feeling that Robinson seems to share with Ish Smith and so many other players who have spent time on other teams. Nobody truly understands how strong the culture is within the Philadelphia 76ers until they're immersed in it, by choice or not.
"It’s the complete opposite, probably almost the complete opposite of what everybody thinks," Robinson said about how the team functions. "[Losing is] not an on purpose thing that’s going on here."
Now comfortable with his new surroundings and his playing time, the former Kansas standout is making his presence felt. He's averaging 17.6 points and 15.0 rebounds per-36 minutes, and his infusion of energy off the bench has been exactly what this team needed.
He attributes part of his success to the coaching staff. "They've just given me the confidence, telling me consistently over and over again who I am in this league and what I can do, and to go out and do it," Robinson said.
He also referenced his plans to polish his mid-range shooting. "That’s how the game is revolutionized, with the shooting fours," he said. "I already have the mobility of a not so typical four. As far as outside shot goes that’s still a work in progress. But I’m going to continue to keep working on that."
The Washington D.C. native set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but noted he would be more than happy to "find a home in Philadelphia". Sounds like quite the far cry from how he felt back in February.
With his positive feelings towards the team and a promising future ahead of him, it would be no surprise to see Robinson donning a Sixers jersey again this fall.