Nate Robinson Brings Energy to the Chicago Bulls, Mostly on the Bench

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 20:  Nate Robinson #2 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates after making a three point basket against the Los Angeles Clippers at Oracle Arena on February 20, 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)
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Ethan Sherwood StraussNBA Lead WriterJuly 30, 2012

Notice how I didn't say "off the bench," per Chicago's recent acquisition of the miniature combo guard (Source: Sam Amick). This is because Nate-Rob provides his best antics from the periphery. For evidence, check out his imitation of Stephen Curry's celebration shimmy:

Setting aside how "Celebration Shimmy" should be a microbrew name, Robinson can help a basketball team, given the right context. Right now, many Bulls fans aren't so sure. Their team has jettisoned a few salaries and looks less talented and less deep than it did last year.

This disappointment, in part, probably inspired The Basketball Jones co-star and Bulls mega-fan Trey Kerby to jokingly tweet "at least Nate Robinson" in his appraisal of the move. The tacit idea is that Chicago fans are looking for any sliver of positivity, under the circumstances. 

I am here to make you Bulls supporters feel a bit better about the situation. While it is true that Robinson is the caricature of a shoot-first, low-efficiency point guard, he can be a plus addition to the right mix. Last year, Nate was the engine for a successful Golden State Warriors bench lineup, nicknamed "The Dubstitutes." 

I know, it sounds hard to process. Warriors and defense? Nate Robinson and defense? The twain did meet last year, I swear. Whatever defensive progress GSW's bench mob made was usually undone by their defensively anemic starting unit, but that bench mob was indeed stingy.

Since he was surrounded by such defensively able, offensively limited players, Nate-Rob's shot creation was invaluable.

Robinson's proclivity for creating his own offense can be problematic when he's surrounded by other decent offensive players. On the Warriors, his chucking was an asset. The bench mob was so effective at stymying an offense that they only needed Robinson to chip in with some 43 percent shooting to gain points on the opposition.

With the Bulls, Robinson could be charged with similar duties. 

While Chicago has lost some defensive talent in Omer Asik's departure. Thibodeau can likely construct a good defense from what's left over in a sock drawer (Note: Marco Belinelli might not be able to guard said sock drawer), and he will construct an effective bench unit.

With Derrick Rose out for much of the year, Chicago needs someone to create offense with little prompting. Unless Luol Deng blossoms into a latter-career superstar, much of that onus will fall on Robinson.

So, in summation, the Bulls are in a tough spot, and the Robinson signing is indicative of that. But it's not the worst decision, under the circumstances.

Also, how many players gleefully yell Half Baked lines at Dave Chappelle? You have that going for ya, Bulls fans. 

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