IN WHAT is the NBA's land of opportunity, the newest member arrived at the 76ers' practice facility yesterday. Glenn Robinson III is the latest of the transients to come under the tutelage of Brett Brown and, like so many before him, he'll be afforded the chance to improve his game, prove his worth and perhaps start laying the groundwork for what may become a productive NBA career.
The Sixers claimed the swingman off waivers Friday from the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team that took him with the 40th overall pick in last June's draft after two seasons at the University of Michigan.
This season in Minnesota, the 6-6 shooter appeared in 25 games, averaging 1.2 points in 4.3 minutes. At Michigan, he averaged 12 points in 76 career games and 31.3 percent from three-point range.
"It's an opportunity to see and learn more of him," Brown said. "We're interested in studying him for a long time, and to have him all of the sudden become available, [general manager Sam Hinkie] jumped quickly. We're excited to have him in here. His pedigree is documented. We just want to see him fit in with all of our other young guys and see if we can identify a keeper."
Robinson is the son of former Sixer Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson, who spent the 2003-04 season here. In 11 seasons in the NBA, the Purdue star averaged 20.7 points.
"I've learned a lot, sitting 60 games behind guys like Kevin Martin, Shabazz Muhammad, Kevin Garnett," Robinson III said of his time in Minnesota. "I think I can bring a lot to this team as far as knowledge and energy that I've learned from the game.
"[This is a] young team, looking to run, looking for threes, layups and fouls. Things that we really went over [yesterday] and installed in my mind. I love the fast tempo game. It's similar to what I did in college with spot-up threes and get to the basket. That's the type of things they want on this team. I'm very anxious to play. We'll see. When I get the opportunity here I'll be ready and I'll take advantage of it."
Usually when he acquires a new player in the middle of the season, Brown will shake his hand and send him out into the fray. With Robinson, who is probably not in great game shape after sitting so much with the Timberwolves, Brown will give him a little time.
"When you cut to the chase, you hope to get his body great," Brown said. "We hope to get his career-best fitness there. We hope to take his stroke and grow it to where he will be comfortable dribbling. When you look at all that, plus his background, he makes for a really interesting prospect. He's coming in late. I don't believe I'm going to do what I've done with other new guys like I have in the past where I just throw them into the game. We are loaded up at the wing. It's not that immediate need that I've experienced with point guards and that type of thing. I think that you're going to see us grow him a little bit before we just throw him in."
Both Nerlens Noel and Isaiah Canaan were non-participants at practice yesterday. Noel, who is nursing a strained shin, was at practice and did some light shooting. Canaan (upper respiratory infection) wasn't at practice. Brett Brown said Noel would practice today and be ready to go tomorrow when the team faces the visiting Chicago Bulls.