Nate Robinson has proven capable of playing in the NBA in his short tenure, and frankly I’m surprised a team hasn’t picked him up yet.
The 32-year-old point guard is probably best known for his playing time in Chicago during the 2012-13 season. With an injured Derrick Rose sitting on the bench, Robinson got significant playing time and was even named Eastern Conference Player of the Week in early-February. In just four games, he was averaging 17.8 points, 6.8 assists, and 2.5 steals. He was also shooting 52.9% from three.
In that 2012-13 season alone, Robinson wreaked havoc on the Eastern Conference, including highlights like ending the Miami Heat’s 27-game win streak (back when the Heat had LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh), brought Chicago back from the brink of elimination in the playoffs against Brooklyn, helped the Bulls win their first road Game 7 victory in franchise history, and force a 1-0 lead against the same Heat team that would go on to win the championship.
Steve Kerr was a television analyst at the time, prior to coaching the Warriors, and said of Robinson that, “they might have to put a statue of this guy outside the building, right next to Michael.”
Robinson would spend his next four seasons bouncing between 10-day contracts and being waived. And here Nate is today, hustling in the D-League, running through the legs of defenders on the double-team.
Although Deron Williams is a fantastic player and amazing point-guard, I’m surprised the Cavaliers overlooked Nate Robinson. LeBron even stated that the Cavaliers needed a playmaker, someone who makes things happen. I believe that if Robinson is put in the right circumstances, he truly could shine.
The first thing most NBA scouts and fans would look at in a player is their height, which is surprisingly looking like it is becoming less of a factor in point guards. Isaiah Thomas is the same height as Nate Robinson, and is able to perform at an exceptionally high level. Sure, they might be a few inches shorter than the NBA average, but ponder this question for a moment: how good do you think someone 5’9 has to be to play in the NBA?
Let’s add some flavor to that question. The average height in the NBA is around 6’7. As you can imagine, being the shortest guy on the court by nearly a foot has its disadvantages, which gives credit to how skilled players such as Thomas and Robinson are.
— NBA on ESPN Radio (@NBAonESPNRadio) February 18, 2017
Think about growing up 5’9 with aspirations of being in the NBA. It’s almost ludicrous to think of, no matter the skillset. Not only do these players grow up with the chip on their shoulder of being told they’re too short for the NBA, they also have to deal with being first on the chopping block if a team starts suffering defensively. Since you can’t really move a 5’9 player to guard a 6’8 power forward, the lack of versatility presents a threat. Players like Nate excel in everything else to the extent that they make up for this versatility, and if a team is constructed around them, they could potentially become franchise players.
Nearly every NBA team needs a point guard or backup point guard, and it’s only a matter of time before Nate Robinson gets scooped up somewhere he can fit. If I had to put him on a team, I think it would be interesting to see him play for the New Orleans Pelicans. With DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, the team already excels in post-up game and would give Robinson the ability to work the perimeter and send dimes down the middle.
Whether any franchise is game enough to give Robinson another shot in the big time remains to be seen, however.
We need Nate Robinson back in the NBA.
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) February 26, 2017