In late August, a myriad of upcoming NBA rookies were camera-ready for the development of their first Panini trading cards, while a bevy of viewers gazed in amazement at the league’s future superstars.
With the music thumping out the speakers, players engaged in several interviews, while others did what they do best: shoot some hoops. Occasionally, you would see players, like the #2 & #3 picks in Charlotte’s Michael Kidd Gilchrist and Washington’s Bradley Beal, collides in the spirit of competition via video game console, while Others decided to show off their superior leaping abilities and dunk on innocent bystanders mainly consisting of cardboard printouts featuring two of the biggest antagonists of sports, in Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless.
During all the fun, Ballerstatus had the opportunity to talk several players in this year’s rookie class — 5th overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, Thomas Robinson (Sacramento Kings); 12th pick Jeremy Lamb (Houston Rockets); and 18th pick Terrence Jones (Houston Rockets).
Jeremy Lamb & Terrence Jones
With this being your rookie year and you’re your team (Rockets) in a rebuilding phase, how do you hope things can work out for you this year?
Jeremy Lamb: Ummm, I don’t know exactly how it’s going to work out, but I’m going to work hard. I’m going to make sure I play hard my rookie year, and of course, do what I can to make sure I can help the team win.
What do you plan to learn from playing with guys like Jeremy Lin and Kevin Martin?
Jeremy Lamb: I definitely could learn a lot from those guys. They’re experienced players, and veteran guys I could definitely learn from. They can give me…(interupted by Terrence Jones and begins laughing)
Here comes Terrence Jones. How you feeling today man?
Terrence Jones: I’m real good man. I’m just enjoying my time at this rookie program with my teammates and friends.
Is this a program or a camp? (Laughs)
Terrence Jones: I don’t know. (Laughs) It feels like a camp because we been here a long time. This the last day I think. (Laughs) Man, I’m struggling with my words. (Laughs) But no, we’re here working hard and ready to go.
We were just talking about the Rockets picking up you, Jeremy, and Royce all in the first round. How do you guys plan to transition to the NBA?
Terrence Jones: I mean, I think we’re going to try to do the best job that we can. We already got chemistry off the court from knowing each other. I just thinking we’re just going to try to get better as rookies within time.
I’m going to be honest. I think you, Royce, and Jeremy are plotting to come and change up the starting line-up mainly consisting of Kevin, Chandler, and Patrick. (Laughs)
Jeremy Lamb: In a perfect world, you would normally get what you want. But, I don’t think that’s the goal. We’re just here trying to contribute to the team in whatever role that is. And, if we’re blessed to get that opportunity, we’ll definitely contribute.
Terrence Jones: Definitely the same thing like Jeremy said. We’re just here to contribute and help our team get better. We just want to go out there and play our roles.
Before we go, what are you guys hoping your ratings will be for this year’s NBA 2K13?
Jeremy Lamb: Hmmm. What my rating would be? Well, I don’t even play video games at all, but hopefully like something good. I mean… wait, the highest rating you could go is 99 right? That’s what I want. (Laughs)
Terrence Jones: I want mine to be 99 everything. (Laughs)
Talk about having the opportunity of teaming up with a young polished center like Demarcus Cousins, and forming a strong frontcourt together.
Thomas Robinson: I think it’s a great opportunity to work with somebody with like DeMarcus. We’re both young. He’s an upcoming player in this league. Me, I’m going to try to make a name for myself too. So hopefully, he could teach me some things to get better.
Funny thing is, I remember TMZ caught you on camera and said the first thing you were going to buy with your check was the Rolex. Did your wish come true?
Thomas Robinson: (Laughs) The first thing I actually decided to buy was a house. I ended up getting the Rollie (Rolex), but it definitely wasn’t the first thing I bought.
I know you’re a DMV representative. So because you’re moving to Sacramento, how bad are you going to miss those wings and mambo sauce?
Thomas Robinson: (Laughs) I’m gonna miss them man a lot man, I mean a lot. I’m going to need my people to make sure my people send me those in packs while I’m in Sacramento.
I’ve been asking a lot of the rookies what they think they’re rating in NBA 2K13 should be. What do you think yours should be?
Thomas Robinson: Hmmm… I’m thinking I’m worth a 78 or 80. You know what I mean? Make sure my rebounding is solid, and that I got mid-range. Then, we’re good. (Laughs)
You guys have a young core in Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, yourself, and Jimmer Fredette. What’s the level of expectations for you guys this year.
Thomas Robinson: I think we need to get to the point where they need to mention us in the discussions for the playoffs and make a run, because we have a lot of young talent on our team. If we work hard, we could compete with anybody in this league.
Do you feel you have any threat for this Rookie of the Year Campaign?
Thomas Robinson: Nah, I think it’s going to be me.
Thomas Robinson: Point blank. (Laughs)