New season: Different team. If Nate Robinson were to write an autobiography, that would likely be the title. Robinson, who will be entering his ninth season in the NBA this fall, just recently came to an agreement to join the Denver Nuggets. This will be the sixth team that he will have played for during his career, and it is likely not the last.
Since the beginning of the 2009-10 season, Robinson has played on five different teams: Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors and most recently, the Chicago Bulls. Therefore, it should come to no surprise that Robinson passed up the opportunity to stay in Chicago to sign a two-year deal for more money to join the Nuggets. There is no doubt that Robinson made the “smart” choice by signing with Denver, where he will make more money, but Chicago and Robinson just seemed to be a perfect match for one another, and it seems as though Robinson has decided to take the money over winning.
Statistically, as well as beyond the box scores, Robinson had one of his best seasons last year in Chicago. He averaged 13.1 points per game, the third highest total of his career, 4.4 assists per game, the second highest total of his career, and started 23 games, the most he has started since his rookie season. Throughout his entire career, Robinson has been seen as a high-energy spark plug who has come off the bench to provide offensive help. However, due to injuries to point guards Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich, Robinson was able to have what arguably turned out to be one of the biggest roles of his career. Robinson was called upon to be one of the primary leaders of the Bulls and there was no better example of this than during Game 4 of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets. Robinson was the star of this triple-overtime thriller in which he led the Bulls back from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit and went off for an improbable 34 points.
Robinson will be greatly missed next season in Chicago. If he were to take a pay cut and stay, he definitely would have been a key contributor to what is expected to be a deep playoff run by the Bulls. Not only was he a fan favorite, but he was also the team’s third leading scorer. The departure of Robinson means that, in all likelihood, second-year guard Marquis Teague will be seeing more playing time. Teague had a strong summer league performance, so look for him to become a strong contributor off the bench next season in Robinson’s absence.