Nate’s Return – Trade Audition or Resurgence?

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Nate Robinson scored 40+ in Atlanta
Nate Robinson scored 40+ in Atlanta
Nate Robinson returned to play 38 minutes after being fined $25,000 for public asking for a trade after his recent benching.  Robinson played over an ailing Jonathan Bender and Larry Hughes who has been dealing with a groin injury.  Robinson poured in 41 points, 11 in overtime, somewhat dominating the offensive end of the court against the 21-10 Atlanta Hawks on their home court.


After 14 straight DNP’s many fans suspected Nate would be traded as soon as possible. Nate’s attitude had worn on Mike D’Antoni, but he seemed to say all the right things while waiting for playing time.  The Knicks were down 13 points in the third quarter to the athletic Hawks before riding Nate and Chandler’s hot hand to victory.

After an embarrassing loss to the 2 win Nets in New Jersey, the Knicks needed a shot of energy for a team dealing with injuries hitting the long winter stretch of the NBA season.  Coach D’Antoni vowed to get Toney Douglas more minutes before the loss to the Nets, but went in a different direction by inserting Nate for the spark.

So, now Nate’s performance will raise many new questions. Did he play only because of the injuries?  Will he continue to play in the rotation? Is Nate’s attitude where it needs to be to contribute every night? It seems that Douglas will now have a permanent seat next to Jordan Hill for the rest of the season.

Overall, the Knicks beat a good team on their floor and needed Nate’s energy to do so.  Nate not playing at all could be questioned over the last month, but more importantly Coach D’Antoni using a limited rotation on a team where there is no Steve Nash or Amare Stoudemire that can carry a nightly load of both minutes and responsibility bring more debate to the table. A run and gun team would be the perfect place to using an extended rotation. When thinking of a very short rotation it bring the thought of Mike Dunleavy’s Clippers or Larry Brown’s defensive philosophies to mind, not seven seconds or less.  Coach D’Antoni does have nerve to insert players after benching them (Hughes pre-season and now Nate), but his contrarian philosophies of basketball foundations hasn’t given the Knicks much more wins. Hope yes, wins no.

Nate proved he could score against some guards that didn’t really play the greatest defense.  Also, Jamal Crawford reinforced why we traded him with 4 points in 27 minutes shooting 2-12 from the field.  The Knicks have a tough month of teams that will really play some defense.

The conclusion is that Nate Robinson can score. He can also be a little bit of a problem playing undisciplined and is definitely on the trade block. Nate Robinson has a “no trade” cause that he can waive if only he deems fit. With Mike D’Antoni seemingly figuring out how to tame Nate the future has yet to be determined. Nate will be playing lots for the next 3 games and for one thing the Knicks are once again relevant and at least intriguing night in and night out. Knicks fans actually do have some hope for the first half of 2010 and can actually do more and more if Coach D’Antoni would adapt his philosophies a little more to the personnel here in NYC. Happy New Year!


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