Somehow, despite the loss of all-world scorer Derrick Rose and the presence of the defensively minded (which is a nice way of saying, "shooting 32 percent from the field") Kirk Hinrich at starting point guard, the Chicago Bulls are 12th in the NBA in offense after a 5-3 start to the season. The squad is holding its own, while it awaits Rose's return, and a good chunk of the team's game-changing work in the winning attempts has come from journeyman guard Nate Robinson.
"Journeyman," of course, is a nice way of saying "5-9 guard Nate Robinson, who has annoyed millions since joining the NBA in 2005."
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Nate's won over these Bulls, though, usually finishing games in spite of his here-and-there defense and coach Tom Thibodeau's experience with the league's shortest guard during an uninspiring 26-game turn Robinson produced as a member of a 2009-10 Boston Celtics team that Thibodeau worked for as an assistant coach. And, as The Basketball Jones' Trey Kerby reminded us on Thursday morning, the guy knows how to use that minimalist frame to his advantage. Between-the-legs dribbles are for 1996, man; it's time to start driving right through a defender's limbs. Watch:
You saw it. Right underneath Sebastian Telfair's legs. Finishing off of the wrong leg, as well.
It's hardly a comeuppance for a team that watched as LeBron James literally jumped over its former sparkplug scoring bench guard 10 months ago, but that doesn't deny the sweetness of the maneuver.
Coach Thibs is notorious for denying minutes to his more irascible players, while overplaying certain rotation performers that seem to please the coaching staff a little more than they routinely contribute. For Nate Robinson — reputation and all — to make such an impact on the 2011 Coach of the Year? It's saying something, even in November.
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