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So, What Are The C’s Getting?


We’ll have some reflections on Eddie House later, should the deal centered around House and Nate Robinson go through.

Let’s talk for now, briefly, on what sort of basketball player the C’s would get in Nate Robinson, since so much of the dialogue about Robinson has focused on his clownish tendencies and occasionally idiotic, selfish, preening behavior. This is a guy that high-fived Will Ferrell, saluted “Call of Duty” fans at the foul line, fired a shot at his team’s basket just after the buzzer and turned his back on a live ball after he blocked a shot to show off for the crowd.

That stuff is not going to fly in Boston, where the games matter a bit more than they have in New York since Nate arrived in the league.

But:  The Celtics are also getting a player who is a lot more dynamic than Eddie House.

Eddie House has never recorded PER higher than 15.8 (a smidgen above league average), never averaged more than 20 minutes per game and has never really done anything else but shoot from the perimeter. That’s not a knock. We all love Eddie House. It’s just fact.

Even with all his attitude issues, Nate Robinson is just on a different level. Nothing brings that home better than this:

In 2009, Robinson attempted 4.1 shots per game at the rim, according to Hoopdata.com. Only 13 point guards and 11 shooting guards got to the rim more often, and 23 of those 24 players logged more minutes per game than Robinson. (Nate played 29.9 minutes per game last year).

To put that in perspective: Chris Paul attempted 4.4 shots per game at the rim in 38.5 minutes, Kobe Bryant attempted 4.4 in 36.2 minutes, Rajon Rondo 5.2 in 33.0 minutes and Vince Carter 4.1 in 36.8 minutes. (All numbers via Hoopdata.com)

Put simply: Nate can beat his guy off the dribble and get to the rim almost at will. It is astounding to watch at times how easily he beats NBA defenders off the bounce. What he does next, of course, determines the course of a possession, and it’s there that Nate’s game needs improvement. To his credit, he’s trying; he has assisted on 26.7 percent of New York’s baskets while he’s been on the court this season, according to Basketball Reference. That’s a mediocre number for a lead ball-handler, but it’s not awful and it’s a career-best for Nate. Progress, people.

By comparison, Eddie House took 28 shots at the rim all of last season, according to Hoopdata. That works out to about 0.3 attempts per game, or one every three games.

This is not to fault Eddie House, for whom we all have great affection. Nate Robinson is just a different, more dynamic offensive player. And if you haven’t noticed, the C’s have struggled over their last 24 games because their offense has slipped to 14th in the league in efficiency; the defense remains the best in the league. It wouldn’t shock me to see Doc Rivers slide Robinson right into the game during crunch time if the C’s offense lacks pace or becomes jumper-happy, or if Rajon Rondo appears tentative.

Robinson also takes decent care of the ball, a trend he shares with approximately zero current Celtics. For his career, he has turned it over on about 11 percent of possessions on which he has tried to do something with it. That’s below average for a guard who handles the ball so often; it’s a rate in Chris Paul territory, actually, and that’s a good territory to be in and not one in which you would expect to find a player perceived (rightfully) as a hot dog.

I’ve covered the defense and the plus/minus stuff elsewhere, so I won’t belabor it here. To sum it up: Nate’s raw plus/minus numbers are basically neutral—the Knicks gave up about the same number of points per possession with Nate on the floor versus with him on the bench. His adjusted plus/minus numbers are even better, and show that he and David Lee were by far the most productive players on the Knicks last season.

David Berri’s wins produced system also rated Robinson and Lee well above the other Knicks last season.

The C’s are getting a better player here. Provided they don’t surrender a first-round pick, this will be a good basketball deal. It will be a better one if Nate Robinson stops putting himself above his team, pays attention to detail as long as the ball is live and works his tail off on defense.

  • Sweeney

    He is leaving a team that doesn’t want him and a fan base that love him. That me first crap won’t play in Boston, especially giving up House for him. So he either plays team ball, or gets to serenaded nightly by and ungracious crowd.

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  • http://www.celticshub.com Brian Robb

    Strongly second the crunch time minutes Zach. This is a move to provide someone in that unit whose strength is attacking the rim when Rajon Rondo gets timid late, and the offense starts to idle. The more I think about it, the more I like the potential deal.

  • hallik

    I hate to see House go…During our championship run he went off! I dont know what to think of Nate Robinson…as of yet. (Looks like a midget 50cent)

  • matthew

    another stephon marbury experiment… *jeez* surely to go down the drain. i hope i’m wrong… :o(

  • Sam

    I’ll miss House but the more i think aobut it I like this potential deal, especially like you said late in games when our offense starts to idle and my little rondo becomes tenative. If we can beat the me first attitude out of him I’ll be even more for it.

  • GranTur

    As long as we don’t give up a first round pick or Marquis Daniels/Sheed, I’m okay with any bench player trade for Nate.

    Nate has a much better personality than people outside of New York could know. I’m excited.

  • jason

    Is anyone worried about how Nate’s presence might affect Rondo? I mean, he’s supposed to be the franchise guy for the foreseeable future, but if Doc starts giving his minutes to a red-hot Nate in the 4th quarter…How many times does that happen before it gets into Rondo’s head and shakes his confidence even more? What if Robinson wins over the team in the locker room and intimidates Rondo out of the picture. We know Rondo can take charge and lead this team to a title. Can you really imagine saying that about Nate Robinson?

  • http://www.livefromapt.blogspot.com w2

    Nate, Pierce, KG, Sheed, Rondo, Baby.

    The good Doc will need to brush up on his Personality Psychology to manage this crew.

  • Jay P

    @Brian and Zach Re: crunch time minutes

    Why are we convinced that Doc will even allow Nate in during crunch time minutes, regardless of what Rondo is doing?

    Have we not seen it time and time again in the past 2 weeks when Pierce has been struggling, the offense is lagging, and Daniels is riding the pine?

    What makes you think things will be any different with Rondo/Nate? Doc has shown a complete inability to pull his starters late in games, even when it seems like other players riding the bench (Daniels, house when he’s been hot, etc…) would be, and have been far more effective in games.

    Not saying I disagree with you guys, just saying for that to happen, we’d need a new coach.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    eddie for nate definitely makes the team better. i’m also warming to it and not worried about chemistry at all.

    the expectation on the vets to play absurd minutes and carry the team through crunchtime has led to the recent flatness. an offensive spark could mean exponential improvement for everyone – ala crawford for the hawks.

    anyone heard anything out of philly lately? i can’t believe they will not dump contracts today. still crossing my fingers :)

  • john

    will nate play for us tonight

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