According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.com, the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in acquiring point guard Nate Robinson. With the Lakers using the amnesty provision on Metta World Peace and becoming active on the open market, this comes with little surprise.
While some have criticized the potential for a deal being executed, signing Robinson would be a wise move for the Lakers.
Robinson is fresh off of a postseason in which he flirted with Michael Jordan's franchise record for points scored in the fourth quarter of a playoff game. He's also coming off of consecutive years of efficient play, entirely transforming his game.
That's a major reason why the Lakers are exploring their options and looking into signing him.
Robinson remains one of the most polarizing players in the NBA, which makes this an issue without a consensus opinion. For all of his heroics, Robinson is still an undersized player that is known in most circles as an inefficient performer.
Perhaps it's time those circles caught up with reality.
Dispelling Reputation of Inefficiency
Everyone's favorite joke seems to be that Nate Robinson is the epitome of a streak shooter. He has no sense of shot selection, is as inconsistent as they come and simply will not help a team win games because of his hot-and-cold tendencies.
And then they see the numbers and stop responding to your inquiries.
During the 2012-13 regular season, Robinson averaged 13.1 points and 4.4 assists in 25.4 minutes of action. He posted a player efficiency rating (PER) of 17.43, made 40.5 percent of his three-point field goals and posted the second-highest assist ratio of his career.
The previous high came just one year prior—that's what you call consistency.
In 2011-12, Robinson finished with averages of 11.2 points and 4.5 assists in 23.4 minutes with the Golden State Warriors. He posted a PER of 18.05 and shot 36.5 percent from three-point range.
Here's the part where critics use their selective reasoning, saying the numbers mean nothing for Robinson, yet utilize them to support their case for another player's greatness.
The truth of the matter is, Robinson has improved tremendously as a second-unit point guard. He's more controlled, distributes the ball better than ever before and has managed to turn his non-stop energy into electricity in a bottle.
Open it up, and when you need it, Robinson will light a gym up with his scoring, passing, explosiveness and clutch mastery.
Athletic Point Guard
In recent seasons, the Lakers have fallen victim to their own denial, as they've failed to address the absence of athleticism along their perimeter. During the summer of 2013, the Lakers have improved, adding Wesley Johnson and Nick Young to their second unit.
Why stop there?
The Lakers added athleticism to the point guard position when they signed Jordan Farmar, who played in Turkey during the 2012-13 season. Prior to his tenure with Anadolu Efes, Farmar spent four years with his hometown Lakers, winning two NBA championships with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and company.
With Steve Nash, 39, coming off of a season in which he missed 32 regular-season games due to injury, it's critical that the Lakers create more than a two-man point guard rotation.
Robinson is the athletic point guard that they need, shooting the three-ball at an elite level and exploding into the lane. With postseason experience and momentum-shifting dunking ability, Robinson is everything L.A. has lacked since Shannon Brown departed—even if the size is less than ideal.
Besides, who in their right mind would pick Young over Robinson as a second-unit spark plug after what we saw Lil' Nate do in the 2013 NBA playoffs?
What is There to Lose?
Robinson is a 5'9" point guard who wouldn't help L.A. with it's need for size along the perimeter and lacks a sound defensive game. Even though he has been supremely efficient for a backup point guard in 2011-12 and 2012-13, he's also a player with a reputation—you know, because that trumps statistics—for being reckless.
At this point, however, we can't help but ask—what do the Lakers have to lose?
By adding Robinson, the Lakers add an energetic player who creates crowd excitement and knows how to swing momentum in late-game situations. They also create depth behind a 39-year-old point guard battling leg injuries.
For a team that no one believes will actually contend for a title—even if this writer believes it can be a significantly better team this year than in 2012-13—why not swing for the fences?
Landing Robinson on a one-year deal would be the ultimate bargain.
If Robinson is willing to a sign a one-year contract and come to Los Angeles, the Lakers would add a core player to contend with. If Robinson were to play well, he'd help L.A. pursue a title or become a trade piece, and if he fails, he walks in 2014.
The Lakers as an organization may be known for their style, but it's time they do something of substance—signing Robinson would be that type of move.