I’m still unsure of what to make of Nate Robinson since he joined the Warriors this year. Maybe I’m just jaded by him shooting at the wrong basket during his New York Knick days or his irrational confidence (missed) fade away three against the Thunder last week when the game was tight. Scott Brooks rarely let Robinson off the pine in his stint with OK City last year but Jackson was willing to thrust him into action just days after signing with the Warriors.
Coincidentally, Robinson was probably surprised after losing a definitive role in New York, Boston, and Oklahoma City. The luster may wear off in Golden State but right now he’s blinding Mark Jackson. I don’t blame Robinson or the coaching staff. It is a challenge to find a consistent role for a guy that’s 5’8″.
One thing that can’t be denied is that Robinson’s energy seems to be more contagious than influenza in a nursing home.
Jackson has regularly been employing a rotation that runs nine deep, which has become common nature amongst other NBA teams in this condensed season. During the last two games, Jackson has been slow to bring his starters back into the game in the 4th quarter. Last week against the Thunder, he waited until the second unit managed to squander four straight fast breaks before bringing Curry and Ellis in around the six minute mark. Those fast breaks wouldn’t have happened without the energetic defense from the second unit but that energetic defense created, for lack of a better term, bonehead moves on the break each time.
Last night against the Kings, Jackson didn’t bring Curry back into the game until there was less than one minute left in the game. Ellis sat the entire 4th quarter. In Jackson’s defense, Curry and Ellis have struggled from the field in both of those games.
Jackson is 1-1 with that strategy although a loss to Oklahoma City didn’t have to happen as that was a sloppy game that produced enough turnovers to maintain an ambiguous outcome.
If Jackson isn’t going to trust his star players in crunch time, the Warriors might as well put them on the trading block to bring in players that he can trust. Is it Jackson’s Napoleonic complex shining through and would it matter if he had a mixture of Clyde Drexler, Larry Bird, and a mid-late 90’s Grant Hill on the bench? Something tells me that he would still be playing a second unit that managed to shoot 35% from the floor in the 4th quarter. Jackson had the following to offer about his game plan:
“I’ve been part of teams as a player where the coach would stick with the hot hand and then look my way with 5 minutes, maybe 4 minutes left”
Jackson went on to say that he would rather have the coach stick with the hot hand and not look his way with 4-5 minutes left in the game. I guess 2-12 from field between Klay Thompson and Nate Robinson isn’t the hot hand he was talking about. Curry’s diplomatic response is exactly what he needs to say to keep the peace.
“We understand coach made the decision to stick with those guys. They took the game home for us.”
The real hot hand last night was Brandon Rush, who hit a key three pointer late in the 4th quarter and two more during the 4th for good measure. While a win shadows the questionable coaching decision, I can’t imagine that keeping Lee, Curry, and Ellis on the bench during every close game is going to fly with the front office. Don’t forget that Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber made a few promises to their season ticket holders. Irrational confidence must be contagious in Golden State. The Warriors get Utah, Sacramento, and Oklahoma City over their next three games. On a side note, Andris Biedrins is about to catch fire from the free throw line as he hit his first one of the season last night.
About the Author
Written by Chris Mosca
Basketball lover for years. I blog for the Golden State Warriors. I am happy to serve the fans with my reports and insights. Follow me on twitter, @cwmosca