Why Nate Robinson Will Be the Key to Chicago Bulls' Post-Season Success

Andres MonteroContributor IApril 12, 2013

Nate Robinson's performance during the playoffs will play a big role in how far the Bulls go.
Nate Robinson's performance during the playoffs will play a big role in how far the Bulls go.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls will begin their 2013 playoff run in just under two weeks, and one of the biggest keys to their success will be the play of Nate Robinson.

Robinson's game has elevated during the past few weeks; he's shooting the ball exceptionally well and has come up big during crucial moments.

Over his last 10 games, Robinson has averaged 20 points per game while shooting 47 percent from the floor (45 percent from behind the arc).

Robinson gives the Bulls instant offense. His ability to get hot at any moment makes him a threat whenever he steps on the court. He also excels when attacking the basket, making him one of the Bulls' most versatile scorers.

He is a streaky player, however, so in order for him to lift the Bulls during the postseason, he'll have to play as consistently as he has all month.

He creates and adds a lot of new things for the Bulls when he's on the floor, which is why he'll be a crucial piece of the Bulls' postseason run.

Robinson is one of the few players on the team who can drive to the basket. His size and speed makes him hard to stop when he drives because he can get very low to the ground but still leap high enough to get shots past defenders.

If the Bulls utilize Robinson as an attacker more often, it'll make his defender have to honor that, giving him a little more room to operate at the top of the key.

Robinson is also a threat to shoot the three. He's shooting 40 percent from deep for the season, making him the Bulls' biggest weapon from downtown.

Off-ball movement will be crucial to getting open looks.

If he can use some screens to get separation or curl down to the three-point line, he can spot up; or—like he's been doing more recently—use the pump fake to get in the paint.

Robinson has also been one of the Bulls' go-to guys late in close games. His ability to catch fire and get the team going offensively is something the Bulls have missed this year without Derrick Rose.

Whether it's a big, momentum-swinging three, or a steal leading to an easy transition basket, Robinson can turn a game around in just a matter of possessions.

Nate can score in several ways and there's no denying the talent he has. However, one of his most important traits is the emotion and energy he brings to the game.

His energy is contagious. He can get the crowd riled up and his teammates off the bench after a big play; it rubs off on the rest of the team, making them play more aggressively.

After all, there's a reason he earned the nickname Mr. Excitement.

He can also frustrate opposing players or get in their heads with his constant chatter and pesky defense.

Robinson will play a huge part in the Bulls' playoff run. His offense will be needed and his change-of-pace style could be what puts Chicago over the top, especially in a setting where half-court offenses tend to be most prevalent.

If he can remain under control, make good decisions and turn the engine on when the team needs him to, Robinson could end up as one of the Bulls' top performers this postseason.


Note: Stats are accurate as of Apr. 12 before games were played.