Since being cut by Oklahoma City just prior to their Christmas Day season opener, former Celtics’ point guard Nate Robinson seems to have found a niche for himself in Golden State. With Stephen Curry having suffered his 7th ankle sprain in the past 15 months, the Warriors desperately need someone other than just Monta Ellis and David Lee to shoulder some of the scoring load, help facilitate the offense, and bring energy to the floor. So far, the little guy has been a huge hit in Golden State, providing valuable energy off the bench while averaging just under 15 points and 5 assists per game.
Furthermore, his stellar performance on Tuesday night led the Warriors to an overtime victory against the Miami Heat. Robinson finished with team-highs in points (24), assists (5), steals (4), free throws (14-14), and plus/minus rating (+12). Head coach Mark Jackson loves his effort, and it should not be long before Robinson replaces rookie guard Charles Jenkins in the starting lineup until Curry is healthy. With the way Nate has contributed in his first three games for the Warriors, racking up a cumulative plus/minus of +18 so far, one cannot help but wonder if Coach Jackson has stumbled across a potential gem for a shortened strenuous season that may be starved of high energy players such as Robinson.
One must also wonder if teams such as the Celtics and Thunder, who have recently passed on Robinson, are now regretting it. The Celtics, who shipped Nate away to Oklahoma City in the Jeff Green trade, have displayed a serious lack of energy and athleticism this season, with the exclusion of Rajon Rondo and Brandon Bass. Meanwhile, the Thunder recently lost backup point guard Eric Maynor for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, likely forcing them to use wingman James Harden and rookie Reggie Jackson as point guards when Russell Westbrook is not on the floor. Westbrook has played phenomenal so far, but without Maynor it now becomes imperative that he remain healthy for the Thunder to make a successful playoff run.
While Robinson’s fun-loving antics and attitude have always been a cause of concern for his coaches, Jackson is thrilled with his new point guard’s play and attitude. It will be interesting to see if Robinson can keep bringing that positive energy to the floor for the Warriors, while maintaining focus on this young intriguing Golden State team. Big Nate seems as determined as ever, claiming after Tuesday’s win that "I'm going to come back and shock the world, show the world what I can do.”Jon Jacobson 1/12/2012 01:01:00 PM Tweet