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Let Nate be Nate? Definitely.

 

There are very few certainties in life. And maybe even fewer in the NBA. But if you’re watching the Celtics on a nationally televised broadcast and Nate Robinson misses an ill-advised three-pointer, you can pretty much bet the house that one of the commentators is going off on a rant of some sort.

“That’s not the shot the Celtics needed. Doc Rivers can’t be too happy with that type of decision making. This isn’t New York, anymore. He’s playing with four Hall of Famers. Blah, blah, blah.”

Then Nate will come down and hit three-pointers on two consecutive possessions and all-of-a-sudden it’s “Wow! What a great scoring option for the Celtics off the bench.”

Last night we saw a classic Nate Robinson performance. He played 21 minutes, shooting 3-7 from the field, including 3-6 from three-point range. All 9 of his points came within a 6-minute span during the second quarter, providing a big spark for the C’s.

Nate took some very intelligent shots – coming off screens and late in the shot-clock. And he took some not-so-intelligent shots, such as when he bricked a three-pointer on a 2-on-1 fast break, causing Reggie Miller to pull out the script and give that aforementioned monologue.

So that begs the question…how much freedom should Nate Robinson have in the Celtics’ offense? Does Doc simply allow him to be a scorer when he’s on the floor, meaning you’re going to have to take the good with the bad? Or does he tell Nate to be a distributor and to execute the half-court offense, perhaps limiting Nate’s frequent scoring outbursts.

The ideal answer here would be: Nate needs to find a balance. When he’s playing with the starters, let’s try to avoid firing up shots with 19 seconds left on the shot clock. When he’s with the second-unit, an open three-pointer is arguably their best look.

But Nate Robinson wouldn’t be Nate Robinson if that were so easy. To his credit, he has adapted his game very well in the 46 games he’s been in a Celtic’s uniform. He’s a great teammate, he’s a motivator, and he’s been a great shooter in his time here so far. Last season, Nate shot 41% from three-point range during his time with the Celtics. This year, despite that horrible start, he’s already worked his three-point shooting percentage up to 38%.

At the end of the day, Nate brings a lot more to the team when he’s allowed to be himself. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there aren’t any games that stick out in my mind where Nate cost this team a win because of his erratic play. However, I can definitely remember games when Nate was the spark that put the C’s over the top. He brings a unique energy to the team that not all players possess. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been very impressed with Marquis Daniels’ play this season, but he’s not the type of player that is going to get the second-unit fired up as the Celtics are trying to make a run in the 2nd quarter.  Nate is exactly that type of player, and Doc knows it.

So, are there going to be times when we cringe at some of the shots that Nate takes? Yes. And is it unfortunate that we lose 30 seconds of our life every time some NBA analyst reminds us of Nate’s shooting habits? Absolutely. But I’m prepared for it, and I think the Celtics are better off because of it.

  • What More Can I Say?

    Spot ON!

    Great post. I concur 100%

  • zebulon

    A nate robinson 3 is one of the best shots our offense can get. Over the last two seasons he's shooting about 40% from three on 8 attempts per 40 minutes (higher than Ray, even). Especially when playing with the second unit, he needs to just keep shooting and shooting.

  • J Atlas

    great post. i mean it's not like nate robinson is a jr smith who can literally shoot his team out of a game there needing to be benched for three straight games. what doc rivers talks about is the "flow" of the game and by shooting those threes nate is simply adding his spark to the flow of the game

  • john schaffer

    reggie miller is a typical tnt anoocers someting like charles in the sudio ,,hates the celtics charles litterally hates the celtics because he never could beat the celtics

    • Berkcelt

      this is very true about charles.

      • What More Can I Say?

        Good point. I just always thpought just didn't like KG. But you make a point…it could be his disdain for the GREEN!!!!

        He had me cracking up in the pregame talking about Orlando in Chicago. PLEASE!!!! Stop playing yourself Chuck, you KNOW the C's are the East favorites!!!

        • Kobe's Daddy

          ABSOLUTELY TRUE. glad im not the only one who noticed that. Remember when he said miami would EMBARRASS the c's?. always. He's just sounds so dumb sometimes. I usually think he has good stuff to say too

  • Berkcelt

    I almost always want Nate to chuck it. He can make a good pass once in a while, but just once in a while. "Shoot it" is usually what I'm telling the TV screen (yeah I talk to my TV during games) when Nate has it.

    I find his defense a little more frustrating. He can be pretty Jekyll and Hyde as in the Denver game.

  • Tom W

    I don't really have anything interesting to add to the comments above, I just also wanted to say that this is a great post, and I definitely agree with it.

    Also, seeing Nate Robinson jump on Kevin Garnett's back last night made me chuckle immoderately.

  • Morpheus

    I'm not going to be a YES man here,i don't care, just because he's shooting a good percentage on the night does not mean he should be taking those shots. It's a poor shot plain and simple. Every coach in the entire world of basketball would agree, YES even D'Antoni.

    The difference here though is that Nate MAKES UP FOR IT. Therein lies the problem. He'll come down court, jack a quick 3 pointer than 2 possessions later he'll do the same thing but this time he'll connect. So what does that mean? Did Nate hitting the 2nd one make the 1st one a good shot? NO.
    We have to live with Nate being Nate. It'll make you pull your hair out ( well at least for me) but you take the good with the bad with Nate because you know he'll MAKE UP FOR IT.

    I just cannot stand him dribbling down court and BOOM pulling up for a 3, after we worked hard in getting a defensive stop. If he's wide open and he receives a pass in transition, then takes it, i don't have a problem with it.

  • Scott

    At least he is more consistent than JR smith, and he is a GREAT teammate. He gets the crowd in it, which is valuable in its own sense. I think he is fantastic for this team, and I am glad that Ainge decided to bring him back. He is a spark no doubt, and i am glad he is on the team. We needed those nine points, and there wasn't a player on that roster last night (basically counting baby as a starter) who could have given us those points. He is a very valuable piece to this celtic team, and will prove himself valuable many more times this season. Love him.

  • Morgan3rd

    Live by the three, die by the three… Fast break open 3… not a problem with that. Prefer to have a layup but an open 3 is far from a terrible possession. Plus it gives the chance of an offensive rebound.

  • JP-

    obviously didn't like the fast break, bricked 3, but I can live with it, Nate has become a good player, and will get better if Delonte can come back and be a true point. Nate is better when playing off the ball

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