Free Agent Stock Watch: Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson's career in the NBA has been a rollercoaster ride to say the least. In 2009, he went from being in Mike D'Antoni's doghouse to responding with a 41-point outburst after 15 straight DNP-CDs. In Boston, he had been a key rotation player for a playoff contender under Doc Rivers but later became an afterthought at the end of the bench in Oklahoma City. Today, Robinson seems to have found a home in Golden State under the guidance of Mark Jackson.  

From a talent-perspective, there's not much one can take away from Nate. At 5'9'', he has still found a way to be a productive player, averaging double figure scoring in 4 of his 6 full seasons in the league. During the 2008-09 season, Nate averaged 17.2 PPG, 4.1 APG, and 3.9 RPG in 74 games and just 11 starts. While he may not be a traditional point guard, the Seattle native has more than solid one-on-one skills and can score the basketball at a high rate on any given night.   

The flip side of the coin is the baggage that he's carried along over the course of his career. In 2006, Nate drew the ire of Larry Brown for his immaturity and showboating. His bad reputation would still linger a few years later in Boston. While describing his experience with the Celtics during the 2010-11 season, Shaquille O'Neal recently depicted Nate as a prankster who was more concerned with his public persona more than anything else. The Thunder didn't appear to have any interest in retaining Robinson, as they would later buy out his contract at the end of the year after trading for him. 

Before the season, Nate responded to those who held his reputation in doubt: 

"I could always have [handled things] better, but that's what maturity and growing is," Robinson said. "I've matured a lot, but I'm a fun type of guy. … When I play basketball, I play with my heart and I play for my team. I play for my family, I play for the fans, and I play to win. Regardless of what I do after practice, or hanging out on the bus or after practice with the team, I'm just a fun type of guy. But when it's time to play basketball, I'm all the way focused."

This season, he is averaging 11.2 PPG and 4.5 APG in 23.4 MPG while keeping his antics under the radar and showing that he can still be a solid contributor. His 42.4 FG% isn't ideal, but his ability to create his own shot still makes him a potent offensive weapon. He poured in 24 points in a win versus Miami, 21 points in a win over Dallas, 20 points and 11 assists in a 2-point loss to Boston, and most recently followed up a 28-point outing on the Clippers with a 30-point game against the Spurs. 

I expect Nate to give the Warriors the first priority on being able to re-sign him, but I wouldn't be surprised if he entertained offers from other teams looking to bolster their second unit this summer. He should be able to use his performance this season to his credit when marketing himself to other teams. 

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