Heat center Orlando Robinson didn’t expect to be an NBA starter so soon, but he’s taking advantage of the opportunity created by Bam Adebayo‘s injury, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Adebayo will miss his fourth straight game tonight in Charlotte with a left hip contusion, so Robinson will likely be in the starting lineup again.
The 23-year-old posted the best game of his brief NBA career last Wednesday with 15 points and 12 rebounds at Toronto, but that was followed by a rough outing against Cleveland on Friday in which he was a minus-18 in 20 minutes. Coach Erik Spoelstra said Robinson continues to improve as he deals with the increased responsibility.
“He makes you absolutely respect his fortitude and his grit,” Spoelstra said. “He is relentless with his work, with his approach, with his commitment to earn trust from everybody and he does it with a competitive spirit. He gets better each month. He goes to school on everything. If he makes a mistake in any kind of game, he gets to work with the film, with [Heat assistant coach] Malik [Allen] and then he wants to drill it 10,000 times, which is what we love.”
Robinson, who has $850K of his $1.8MM salary for this season already guaranteed, wasn’t in the team’s rotation when the season began. He played in just four of the first 18 games and spent time in the G League late last month. Robinson may fall out of the rotation again when Adebayo returns, with Kevin Love likely to be the primary backup center, but this latest stretch confirms his belief that he’s a legitimate NBA player.
“I knew,” Robinson said. “It was just waiting on the opportunity and making the most of it.”
There’s more on the Heat:
- Josh Richardson expressed frustration after being called for his third flopping violation of the season in Friday’s game, Chiang adds in a separate story. The NBA has placed a renewed emphasis on getting rid of flopping, fining players $2K for each violation, but Richardson doesn’t believe officials are doing a good job of policing it. “I don’t know what it is,” he said. “Maybe I just need to start running people over and stop falling or do something. But I don’t know, I think it’s terrible.”
- Jaime Jaquez isn’t bitter about falling to 18th in this year’s draft, but he tells Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel that he’s “definitely aware” of all the players who were selected ahead of him. Jaquez, who was chosen as the league’s Rookie of the Month for November, said the long wait paid off when he learned that he was headed to Miami. “So as long as I came here, I was good,” he said. “So it ended up working out for me. To the teams that passed, sorry, but this is where I wanted to go, anyway.”
- The Lakers’ in-season tournament dominance could make the Heat think about adding more size to their roster, Winderman states in a mailbag column.