Friday, February 5, 2010

The Fall (and Rise) of Nate Robinson

After playing just 11 minutes in the month of December, Nate Robinson has found his way back into the Knicks' rotation and now, the starting lineup. Robinson started the second half Wednesday against the Wizards over Chris Duhon with the team down 45-41 and played all 24 minutes in the third and fourth quarters, leading the Knicks to a 66-point half and a 107-85 victory.

I love this change for the Knicks for many reasons. Robinson brings energy and playmaking ability to a position that had neither with Duhon running the point. Often times, the Knicks offense gets stagnant and revolves around Al Harrington or Danilo Gallinari launching three-pointers for lack of a better shot.

Duhon is not half the creator that Robinson is and, while he is a good passer, is not enough of an offensive threat himself (8 PPG this season) to attract the attention of opposing defenses. Not to mention his reluctance to call his own number over the last few weeks.

Another reason I like this change is what it does to the Knicks rotation as a whole. The team can still bring scoring off the bench with Al Harrington and Duhon may go from a starting role to seeing DNP-CD next to his name on the box score. This opens up minutes for rookie guard Toney Douglas who, much like Robinson, is a combo guard that can play off the ball as well as at the point. With both players on the floor at the same time, the Knicks won't be so reliant on one player to run the offense.

Anybody who watched the second half of the Washington game saw what the Knicks offense was able to do under Robinson. His ability to create his own shot brings a different dynamic to the Knicks offense while his quickness allows him to get by defenders and create mismatches and open passing lanes when the defense helps. Robinson is not a true pass-first point guard, but he's a playmaker and a willing passer who can find teammates in open spots on the floor.

The Knicks are four games behind Miami for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 34 games left to play. They still have a shot to make the postseason if they go on a run soon, and this switch may just be the spark they've needed. The emergence of Gallinari has given fans more reason to watch the Knicks this season and this move should do the same. I'm excited to see what the Knicks can do with Nate running the show.

No comments:

Post a Comment