On Oct. 15, the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder were involved in some pretty one-sided NBA preseason action. After a 22-point outburst from Kevin Durant in the first half of the game, the Nuggets were never really in contention for the victory. That apparently didn’t sit well with new Denver guard Nate Robinson.
Early in the fourth quarter with the Nuggets down by more than 20 points, Derek Fisher put up a jumper. As the two teams crashed the boards on what was actually a made shot, Robinson pushed Thunder rookie Steven Adams in the back causing him to stumble forward. Adams barely reacted, but Robinson wasn’t done. As Adams started heading back down the floor, Robinson swung his arm, hitting the big man in the chest (the play can be seen in this video starting at the 1:28 mark). Robinson was subsequently ejected.
The ejection was only the beginning of Robinson’s problems stemming from the incident, though. Almost a week later on Monday, the NBA fined the guard $10,000 for his actions, per David Aldridge of TNT.
In terms of his skill, I like Nate-Rob on the floor and, when put in the right position, I think he can be a great bench contributor for a team. When he’s on, he’s one of the most electric guards in the game with a ton of skill and athleticism. However, this incident with Adams is just embarrassing for him on many levels.
For starters, this is the preseason. Nothing about the preseason is serious enough to illicit that type of reaction and behavior. Guys are just trying to get in rhythm and get adjusted back to the NBA game. 99 percent of the time, they aren’t trying to start anything.
Secondly and probably most importantly, I have no idea what Robinson was even that angry about. Though we obviously don’t know what had been said throughout the game or if anything chippy had happened before that we missed, Adams really didn’t do anything on the play in question to warrant Nate-Rob’s reaction. That’s probably the most confusing and immature part of the whole ordeal. If two guys are being physical with one another all game and a skirmish breaks out, it’s not ideal, but it’s understandable. This is in another more befuddling category, though.
In no way do I think this one incident tarnishes Robinson’s name until the end of time or anything like that. To me it seems like an isolated venting of his frustrations in the wrong way and nothing more. Having said that, don’t do anything stupid like that again, Nate-Rob; there’s no place for that in the game.