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Nate Robinson’s Issues

Just a few quick addendums on Nate Robinson, whom the C’s are reportedly close to acquiring as we approach the deadline, according to the Herald:

• Robinson is what’s known as a base-year compensation (BYC) player, a designation given to players who receive a big salary increase from the previous season. This makes a straight-up Knicks/Celtics trade very difficult. Here’s what I wrote a month ago:

[Under BYC rules] Nate Robinson counts as a $4 million player (his real salary) for the Celtics but as a base-year player (with a $2 million salary) for the Knicks. So trades in which the C’s are sending out about $2 million for Robinson—don’t work, since the C’s are bringing in a $4 million player. 

If you want more on BYC, check out this piece in The New York Times by salary cap expert Larry Coon, which addresses Robinson directly. (Hat tip: Green Street). Basically: A straight-up two-team trade between the C’s and Knicks is very difficult.

There are two ways to overcome this problem:

1) Add a third team with the cap space to swallow the extra salary the C’s must send out in any Nate trade but which the Knicks can’t accept. Memphis would seem to be the only logical candidate, and they might demand some sweetener—cash or a pick—for their participation in a three-way;

2) Include enough players on each side that the salaries even out. This is unlikely, since the C’s aren’t looking to deal too many guys and the Knicks are on the verge of a mega-deal with Houston for Tracy McGrady. 

• One reason the C’s are said to be looking for a back-up point guard despite having both Marquis Daniels and Eddie House on the roster is that Daniels, though a skilled ball-handler, might not be up to defending ultra-quick point guards. And we know the team doesn’t trust House to guard star point guards. 

Your first instinct is probably to laugh at the idea that Nate Robinson—a 5’9” guy not exactly known for his D—could be an asset on defense. That was my first instinct, too. 

Then I dug into every publicly available stat that could reveal Robinson’s defensive impact since he entered the league in 2005. The numbers told a different, subtler story: Nate Robinson has had no significant statistical impact, positive or negative, on New York’s defensive performance. The numbers are basically neutral. That obviously doesn’t mean Nate is some sort of stopper. You only need to watch the Knicks for a half to know that’s not the case. 

But it means that he may not be as big a liability as you (or I) might think. I can at least say this: There is no statistical proof Robinson has ever made a bad Knicks defense any worse. 

• Robinson will be a so-called Bird free agent if the Knicks keep him, and (as I understand the CBA) he must consent to any trade, since he will no longer be a Bird free agent if the Knicks deal him. For our purposes, this means the C’s would not have the usual Bird right benefits in negotiating with Robinson in the off-season—namely, the ability to go over the cap to re-sign him without using the mid-level exception. They’d either have to let him walk or use the mid-level. 

In any case, Eddie House would seem to be a logical main ingredient in any deal for Robinson. They are by no means identical players, but their skills—and heights—overlap enough that I can’t see Doc finding enough minutes for both of them to justify keeping House and trading for Nate.

Just my two cents. We’ll find out more over the next 48 hours. Enjoy.

  • Jason

    This is not relevant to this particular post; it’s just the top post as the game against the Kings is going in the shitter, per fucking usual, damn it. Anyway, Zach, Brendan, whoever, I want to see a shot selection by time analysis. That is, I watching this game and the Cs, like always, can get easy shots routinely, but come crunch time, J, J, J, J, mostly bricks. Do the numbers show something like in the first 3 quarters the Cs get 50% of their FGA in the paint, 50% jump shots and in the fourth it’s more like 25/75, with predictably bad results. This is driving me nuts. It’s like giving up. It’s not the PP-iso specifically, but it’s that mentality, that that type of play (slow it way down, settle for a J) is somehow winning basketball. It’s not, especially when for three quarters you’ve shown you can do better. It’s one of the biggest things I hate about Doc and honestly I think it cost the Cs the series against Orlando last year. Anyway, just curious what the numbers show or if I’m suffering selective memory.

  • Jason

    Discounting 6 FTs hit in the last 15 seconds of the game, the Cs scored a miserable 32 second-half points against the freaking Kings. Subpar Rondo performance. Somebody please find Ray Allen’s shot. Please. Somebody. Anybody? Bueller? BBD was 3 for 7. I think all four missed shots were blocks. For all the early season praise for Perk, his offense has been horrid for awhile. Five for 15 Pierce? Really?

    All in all, pretty pathetic. This is the new norm for this team? Really? The team that burst out of the gate? The improvement from Rondo and supposedly Perk, too. Yet this is the team now? Sweating close calls against the Kings? I hate this team so much right now. Of course, that’s been true the last month. When are they going to get their heads out of their asses?

  • GranTur

    Perkins needs to stop trying on offense.

    He needs to make peace with the fact that he is there for
    (a) blocking/altering shots
    (b) banging against bigs
    (c) rebounding
    (d) under-the-basket put-backs and dunk finishes off penetration

    Rondo is a good shooter when he sets his feet, but he flies around the court so much he can’t ever get a reliable high percent jumper. This is why his floater works so well: he can do it while he’s on the move, unlike his jumper. So many times he has sooo much space to shoot when he’s moving defenses around.

    PP is reallllly slow on the court right now. He’s playing in glue. He’s bullying shots into the paint trying to create contact. He used to get contact because it was the only way guys could stop him from putting it in the hole.

    KG didn’t even try any offense tonight. He can’t move either. Seems like he’s mentally affected by his injuries more than people would think. Add this to poor agility and jumping and this becomes troubling.

    Despite Glen Davis’ poor second half, I think he’s really leaving it all out on the floor right now, and that’s what we need. Who cares if half the time he looks like an idiot? The other half he’s laying it on the line and getting stuff done for this team.

    Marquis was tentative and slow, but the bench was able to get Eddie and Rasheed off which is why we won this game.

    Rasheed played good defense today and got screwed on some foul calls where he was cleanly on the ball. I was impressed by his performance. He played within the flow of the game from start to finish.

    It was interesting to watch Ray and Martin cancel each other out exactly tonight. Foreshadowing a trade? The Kings didn’t even play Martin in the fourth quarter. Maybe their management wants to see how the team would fare without him on the team?

  • Pingback: Nate Situation “Getting Warmer” » Boston Celtics Basketball – Celtics news, rumors and analysis – CelticsHub.com()

  • LittleManOOPS

    all good observations. The first unit shot mix in particular is probably quite different and less good than when the Celts were winning earlier this season and certainly not what it was when they were blowing teams out the first half last year.

    I would guess and generally observe comparatively less: dunks by KG, 3s by Ray, and FTA for all of Kg,Ray,Paul. (Worse for the team, they are all very good ft-shooters.) The starting five offense is seems less naturally explosive.

    The shots they don’t take end up with Rondo and Perk, plus others. It look like KG’s near-the-rim offensive game is now to distract Perk’s man and then dish to Perk, a guy that can confidently dunk.


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