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Bulls get a boost with the addition of Robinson
by Adam Fluck
Posted on Jul 31
Though he’s not large in stature, one shouldn’t discount what the newest member of the Chicago Bulls, Nate Robinson, will bring to the table.
For starters, Robinson has proven he can score off the bench. Through seven professional seasons, he’s averaged 11.2 points while playing just 23.0 minutes per game.
Those who are concerned about his size should look no further than the three slam dunk championships the 5-foot-9 point guard has claimed.
And with Robinson, who officially joined the Bulls on Tuesday, perhaps his greatest asset comes in the form of an intangible, that being the energy he’ll possess as a member of another deep Chicago bench.
“It’s a blessing and I’m honored,” said Robinson minutes after signing his deal at the United Center. “Great legacy, great tradition, a lot of history, and of course, my favorite player has a statue right outside. It’s a great privilege.”
Robinson endured a bit of a waiting game as the free agency process transpired. He said there were other situations he considered, but when he first heard of Chicago’s interest from his agent, he knew where he wanted to play.
“There were a lot of other teams, but you really can’t pass on an opportunity like this to play for the Bulls, who are like America’s team,” said Robinson. “Chicago is a great city. And now, Derrick Rose and the guys here have played great basketball the last couple years. I’m happy to be a part of it.”
Though Robinson sounds like he didn’t need much additional convincing, a phone call from head coach Tom Thibodeau, who Robinson played under when Thibodeau served as Doc Rivers’ associate head coach, may have sealed the deal.
“He was like, ‘We want you here and we think you can help us out a lot,’” said Robinson of Thibodeau. “For a coach to go out of his way and let you know that your services are wanted made it that much easier to feel loved and welcome.”
Given their time together in Boston, Robinson believes he has a good idea of what to expect from his new coach.
“He’s a great guy, a drill sergeant who is very serious and always prepared,” said Robinson of Thibodeau. “That’s something that I love about him. He’ll push us to be the best players we can be for the sake of the team.”
Robinson also acknowledged the fact that Rose will miss a portion of the coming season factored into the appeal of coming to Chicago. He understands it could present a greater opportunity to see meaningful minutes, a challenge he’s excited to embrace.
“This is still his team and I know that,” said Robinson of Rose. “I’m just trying to come in and take some of the weight off his shoulders. Hopefully, I can lead by example, bring energy for the team and contribute in the best way possible.”
Robinson could be counted on to provide a scoring punch off the bench with newly re-acquired Kirk Hinrich expected to open the season as the starting point guard. And while he’s proven to be a highly efficient scorer in the past—Robinson averaged 17.2 points per game in only 29.9 minutes per game with the Knicks in 2008-09—he believes it’s another element of his game which makes him a valuable and consistent contributor.
“The best asset to my game is my energy,” said Robinson. “Night in and night out, that’s what I’m going to bring. I’ll play as hard as I can for as long as I can. The fans are going to see that and they’ll know that I’m here to win.”
For Chicago to win until Rose returns, Robinson knows it will take a collective effort. But he was impressed by the success the Bulls enjoyed during the 2011-12 regular season when Rose was sidelined and is optimistic it will continue in the coming year.
“They play great team basketball,” Robinson said of the Bulls. “I know Derrick Rose is a great, phenomenal athlete, but it takes more than one player. You need teammates to help you play at that high of a level. He had a great core behind him and we’ll do everything we can to hold it down until he gets back.”