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The Boston Herald has reported that the Celtics have made a trade for Knicks’ guard, prodigal son, and Slam Dunk Champion, Nate Robinson. The Celtics sent Eddie House, J.R. Giddens, and Bill Walker to New York for Robinson and Marcus Landry. Robinson has sat out for nearly half the year, but is certainly a strong player when he needs to be.
Rumors of a trade have been made and retracted for the past day, but with the deadline come and gone, the deal was recently announced as details became available. With Robinson and his agent upset over the benching and clamoring for a trade (isn’t going to New York’s rival city the perfect insult to the Knicks?), fireworks are set to go off once Robinson suits up in green.
Nate Robinson is a short man. But, as we’ve all seen over his three Slam Dunk titles, Robinson can get up to the rim in dramatic fashion. His size will also allow him to sneak in unnoticed to wherever he needs to be, especially with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and the other big men attracting a lot of attention. That could just be what the Celtics’ offense needs, since they aren’t what they have been since the championship season. The threes aren’t there, and the injuries are trying to demolish the team, so a big name who can score would help the Celtics get by until they can deal with their pressing defensive issues. After Robinson scored 41 points off the bench following a 14-game absence against a team like the Hawks earlier this season, rust probably won’t mean much for the guard.
Look for Robinson to be a key 3rd quarter player, if Doc Rivers has a brain in his head. The Celtics can’t play in the 3rd quarter, for whatever reason. Maybe the break at halftime messes with their minds, but didn’t I just finish saying rest doesn’t affect Robinson like that? Remember when he came back against the Hawks to kick off 2010? He was shooting threes, driving well, getting moonshot layups that were amazing to see. Pulling that off in the 3rd quarter will let the other players work back into their groove by the 4th quarter, and maybe now we’ll be capable of beating someone other than a pee-wee team.
And by the way, can you imagine someone with Rajon Rondo’s skills as a backup? It could happen. Or can you imagine him and Robinson on the court together? Opponents won’t know which guard to guard.
Marcus Landry, while not making as big a splash as Robinson, gives the Celtics another option at forward, which could come in handy down the stretch if injuries continue, though he could be released to give the Celtics roster flexibility.
Eddie House has been the centerpiece in all the speculation, and it’s a pretty good deal to get Robinson, overall. House has been known as a big shooter from beyond the arc before, which adds value to his name, but lately, he hasn’t been doing that well. His skills have demoted themselves to closer to average, and as a bench player, he’s clearly not the Celtics’ top consideration for the position. Even if Robinson plays about as well as House did, the trade won’t hurt the Celtics. If he plays better, which is the most probable outcome, then great.
They haven’t been getting much playing time at all, even when they actually play a game in the first place. It’s not their fault, as Doc Rivers has some kinks in his starters to work out. And if you’re not going to make the most of any players, why not trade them? This just adds more roster space for the Celtics to play with. You never know when a potential D-League call-up will impress.
To start building a working team that includes Robinson, I might work on some sort of plays involving Robinson and Rasheed Wallace, and then spreading the connections and designing more plays branching off of that. The two players have similar dynamics in the paint and an ability to shoot from deep when need be, as Robinson plays much like ‘Sheed would if he were a guard. If the team works based on that similarity as a skeleton, the No. 3 seeded Celtics might pull off a stunning “upset” of the #6 Bulls in the 1st round.