Nate Robinson Continuing Renaissance with Golden State Warriors

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJanuary 11, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 10:  Nate Robinson #2 of the Golden State Warriors drives on Norris Cole #30 of the Miami Heat at Oracle Arena on January 10, 2012 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Nate Robinson has worn out his welcome before on the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder.

But after his electric performance in the Golden State Warriors' 111-106 upset of the Miami Heat on Tuesday, the 5'9" spark plug appears to have found his fit.

In Tuesday's thrilling overtime victory, Robinson scored 24 points, dished five assists and had four steals. He was a catalyst at the point guard position for the Warriors while Stephen Curry sat ailing.

But what will be his role in the long-term for the Warriors?

Let's be clear: Robinson is not a legitimate NBA starter. The reason he scored 24 points on Tuesday night was because he went 14-of-14 from the free-throw line. He shot 4-of-12 from the field.

Plus, Robinson has never been known as a good defender, which means it's going to be harder for him to gain significant minutes under the defensive-minded Mark Jackson when Curry comes back.

But if Robinson can continue to get to the free-throw line like he did on Tuesday and take care of the ball (two turnovers in 36 minutes against the Heat), there's no reason to think he can't be a productive bench player for the Warriors. When you lead a victory over a team like the Heat, it's hard to ignore that.

What Robinson gives you first and foremost is energy. It not only can impact games like he showed at times with the Celtics; it also is a great fit for a team like the Warriors who have two small guards in Curry and Monta Ellis who are more likely to get injured if they play extensive minutes.

If Robinson can provide sparks like this off the bench, it will make life a whole lot easier on Ellis and Curry. Ellis played 40 minutes a game last season, way too much for a smaller guard like him.

The question is, will Robinson continue playing smart ball and get to the line or regress and start chucking shots up with reckless abandon like he's been known to do?

That remains to be seen.

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