The Denver Nuggets, after seeing their entire organization lose key pieces, tried to pick up the pieces and rebuild a solid team heading into the 2013-14 NBA season. Without George Karl at the head coaching position, Masai Ujiri as the general manager, and Andre Iguodala as their best player from last season, rebuilding a team with the intentions of making the postseason was going to be a tall task.
One of their big moves was to bring in Brian Shaw, one of the most widely respected assistant coaches in the league, to be their new head coach. In terms of player personnel, though, they focused a good bit of effort on adding pieces to their backcourt, most notably signing the enigmatic Nate Robinson.
Robinson entered his tenure with Denver coming off of arguably his best season in the Association last year with the Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls. In 82 games for Chicago, Nate-Rob averaged 13.1 points and 4.4 assists in 25.4 minutes per game while shooting 43.3 percent from the floor and 40.5 percent from three.
One of the reason that Robinson was able to succeed in Chicago was that he was able to find consistent minutes in the Bulls’ rotation and was largely able to create shots for himself, which is when he’s at his best. However, Shaw has started this season with inconsistent and strange rotations with Denver and has tried to institute his offense very strictly with his new team. As a result, Robinson’s performance has largely suffered.
Robinson, playing just 17.4 minutes per game, is averaging only 8.2 points and 2.4 assist per game while shooting 36.3 percent from the field. Sure, he’s hitting on 42.1 percent of his three-point attempts, but that doesn’t discount his shortcomings overall and elsewhere on the floor. Robinson simply hasn’t been the force off of the bench for the Nuggets that they’d hoped he would be this season.
Robinson has had a couple of solid games as of late with two nice performances in Denver’s previous two contests that were both against the Dallas Mavericks. However, Robinson isn’t going to have maximum value for Denver until he’s given some semblance of consistency in the rotation and a bit more freedom. We shall see if Shaw adjusts or continues to stay strict and watch his team struggle.