Why Nate Robinson?

The Warriors had been searching for a big man since the lockout ended. Having run out of desired options, they gave up and used their open roster spot to bolster their bench.

Everyone wants to know the same thing: why did the Warriors sign Nate Robinson? With two 6-foot-3 guards starting in the back court, in Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, what is the logic behind adding a 5-foot-9 combo guard?

The concerns are obvious. He’s another undersized guard. Not only is he undersized, but he’s a tweener. He’s a shooting guard in a point guard’s body.

Pehaps the biggest concern is how Robinson will effect team chemistry. Robinson is certainly a charismatic fella to say the least. Depending on the perspective, he’s either fun-loving or plays too much, passionate or selfish. Certainly, throwing him into the Warriors’ mellow and somewhat bland locker room will be interesting. Could be problematic.

With that said, I’ve talked to a few people about why they’ve signed Nate Robinson. Obviously, their analysis was laced with optimism if not utopia. But, nonetheless, here is the vision for bringing in Nate Robinson.


Nate Robinson, first and foremost, gives the Warriors someone who can score.

Rookie swingman Klay Thompson was supposed to be instant offense off the bench, which is partly whyGoldenStatewas willing to let Reggie Williams walk. But Klay hasn’t been that yet. He’s averaging 3.6 points on 30 percent shooting in 15.6 minutes.

With Thompson struggling to find his footing, who can the Warriors turn to for offense off the bench? Brandon Rush has showed signs, but he hasn’t put together consecutive good offensive performances together yet.

Charles Jenkins’ looked smooth knocking down three straight outside jumpers. But the undrafted rookie second-round pick is hardly to the point where he’s a reliable option. Ish Smith, when he started in place of Curry, was solid in creating offense and pushing tempo. But the second-year guard is a low-percentage shooter.

With Dorell Wright struggling on offense, and a second string comprised of offensively challenged defensive specialists, scoring off the bench is vital for the Warriors.

Golden State is hoping Nate can bring that. Even better, he can create his own shot. When he gets hot, he can be a load on the offensive end.

For his career, he’s averaging 11.3 points in 23 minutes, mostly off the bench. For four straight seasons, Robinson averaged double-digits off the bench for the Knicks. In 2008-09, he averaged 17.2 points in 29.9 minutes.


Another reason: I’m told Mark Jackson is a fan.

He is almost the opposite of how Jackson was as a player. But Jackson, a former Knick, probably saw a lot of Robinson while he was with the Knicks. No question, Robinson was a favorite inNew York for those years.

From what I’m told, Jackson likes Robinson’s toughness and energy. Golden State can certainly use some of that.

Golden State is somewhat banking on the fact that Jackson can get the most out of Robinson. Jackson is regarded in the organization as a master motivator. His tactics of respect, a clean slate and encouragement – the Warriors hope – provoke the best behavior out of Robinson.


Robinson has Bay Area ties. OK, not a factor.But Robinson has family inOakland. That explains why theSeattlenative spent a year living in the Bay Area, attending James Logan High inUnion City.


Robinson’s edge and toughness is needed. Golden State is trying to play defense. Robinson, at his best, brings that scrappy, physical style to the Warriors. He has the athleticism and mental make-up to, at least for spurts, play aggressive defense.

Monday, Robinson could’ve and would’ve taken the challenge of latching to Steve Nash, saving Ellis from having to do it.


Robinson has played in 397 games, all but 4 under the bright lights of New York and the heavy expectations of Boston. He’s played in 20 playoff games (though several appearances were garbage minutes). He has experience Golden State players don’t have, especially not on the perimeter.

Of course, all this is ideal. It assumes Robinson will be at his best and returns to the form of a year ago. It assumes Jackson will use him right. In Warriors world, those are some pretty big assumptions.

What happens when Robinson’s riding the bench because all the minutes are going to Ellis and Curry? What happens if he’s not the player he once was? What happens if the Warriors are struggling through a losing season and personalities start to clash in the locker room?

Marcus Thompson

  • yo marcus, correct me if i am wrong. isn’t nate the son of jacques robinson who went to san jose high and won mvp in the 1981 rose bowl for washington huskies! jacques
    was a beast in football and basketball in high school.

  • Marcus Thompson

    The White Shadow,

    That is correct

  • he gets the edginess and toughness from his father. this is cool because it will be kind of a homecoming for the robinson family.

  • Niners in 2012

    It’s true we have no offense off the bench. Reggie Williams was instant offense. The guy was a highly efficient scorer. 45% 3PT shooter. Warriors acted like he was chopped liver when we let him go. It’s just another knock on LRiley. We unnecessarily renounced him, he probably would’ve accepted the qualifying offer.

    Warriors totally airballed the offseason. They brought back the same damn team as last year, added a few bench guys and overrated the hell out of them in the media. Nothing has changed, its the same team, and may end up worse.

  • Steve Austin

    This is becoming the Singletary 49ers. Even worse, Jackson was no where near a good defender when he played.
    All his preaching will eventually fall on deaf ears, as the losing continues.

  • Sleepy Freud

    I have an major man crush on Monta Ellis. He is a top 5 player in the league!Nate better not take any of his minutes. He can have Currys minutes.

  • Ewok

    We don’t need this tweener.

    Of course he has his positive traits but so do the rest of our untested guards. Our young bucks need their “baptismal of fire” to start their growth process.

    We want to win now but patching Tires with holes are not done with chewing gums. To begin with, we need biggies not smalls.

  • Ewok

    No wonder we gave up on the Ukrainian big guy.

  • Sleepy Freud

    To all the idiots above. Williams was signed to a multi year contract at 2 times the salary as Nate. The cap room moving forward is huge. Dumping Williams made sense. By the way what has Williams done so far this year?

  • Niners in 2012

    Bobs wouldn’t have offered Reggie a contract if we still had the right to match. We had $6M caproom before we unnecessarily amnesty’d CBell, that’s plenty to sign Kwame. It’s been a total airball this offseason. The only idiots here are the ones in the front office and those like you sleepy defending them.

  • Kyle

    Jenkins was a second round pick, not an in drafted rookie!

  • Poopie Face Tomato Nose

    Lacob is full of BS. He promises big moves then makes none. No risks at all. If you wanted Jordan, offer something you know LAC won’t match or go for Paul.

    This team is the same mess as the last 16 years. What has changed? Our best player is probably worse than the best player on every other NBA Team (maybe a few are close).

    Now they may not even have a 1st Round pick to add to this team. Udoh and Thompson both look like mistakes at this point as other players chosen after appear to be better (Warriors’ typical drafting).

    That Philly game showed how important Monta is to the team. The Suns game showed how awful this team is against another bad team even with Monta and Curry.

    Sell outs every night and Cohan Junior, I mean Lacob just cashes in. What is different from the Cohan teams? Lacob promised big and quick changes and either is incompetent or a liar.

  • Jesus Christ this is dumb.
    The “Nice Story” crap seals the deal.

  • parnell

    What Reggie Williams has done this year on court is nothing as he tore his meniscus and is out for six to eight weeks.

  • Bob Dole

    Charles Jenkins is not an “undrafted rookie”. He was the Warriors 2nd round pick (#14).

  • Dirk Suave

    Man some Dub fans will never be happy. For years it was “Get us a PF”!
    Check: DLee. Or it was “Why can’t we draft star potential players?” Check: Steph and Monta! Hello? Are you people out there? So far the warriors are 2-3. Three games we haven’t played at full strength as each of the above mentioned players have missed one game. I expect the Dubs to win at home regularly and pull out a few extra wins on the road. It is going to be a process but I like Jackson as HC and our team. We added alot of cheap bigs to help Lee and the backcourt. Got in some reliable reserves in Rush and Robinson. Just need Klay to find himself and we will be a very good young club. We should compete for no less than the 6 seed. Yeah we may not be championship caliber but certainly playoff caliber. Good enough to make some noise if we get there as well. All the pieces are here it just has to come together. And so far Kwame has been worth every game check. Just sayin. We’ve got a team with a chip on its shoulder. Every single player on the team. The team D will come together slowly yet surely. You heard it here. 40-26 or 36-30, either way it’s a playoff spot.
    I think Jackson is the right coach with the perfect assistants. Front office did what it had to do this off season. Went after a new 5 and got thier 2nd choice to sign. Didn’t work out and they moved on. Got us Kwame who has turned into a serviceable backup 5 and can push Beans. Which in turn helped us steal Rush away from Indiana. I like the moves so far by the FO. Sorry to break it to people but the Warriors FO has been smart. Still have cap room for next year. Still have a chance for a big FA signing and if not that cap room only gets bigger as Beans and Monta become expiring year after next. Wake up folks.

  • Nigel Tufnel

    This is great because previously I was predicting 30 wins for the Warriors. But with the addition of Robinson, I will now make the bold prediction of…oh wait…yeah, 30 wins.

  • Steve

    “To begin with, we need biggies not smalls.”

    From strictly a size standpoint, no, GSW doesn’t need “biggies” over “smalls”. From an earlier MT post:

    “Golden State has four players at least 6-foot-10: Andris Biedrins, Kwame Brown, Jeremy Tyler and Ekpe Udoh. Throw in the size upgrades on the wing (6-foot-9 SF Dominic McGuire, 6-7 swingman Klay Thompson, 6-6 swingman Brandon Rush), and Golden State is a much bigger team across the board.”

    The Warriors have forever been associated with the baseball saying “all hit no field”, a team with gobs of offensive firepower that plays little-to-no defense (at least partially attributable to their lack of size). Now, ironically, they’re a team near the bottom of the league in most offensive categories while being a much bigger team at most positions, which brings to mind another saying that goes something like be careful what you wish for.

    “Airball this offseason”? In a weak offseason for free agents the Warriors went after two of the higher profile guys available (Chandler and Jordan) and were probably fortunate to get neither. Sometimes Plan B can be the better route to future success, albeit possibly the more arduous path.

    No, the Warriors front office and basketball decision-makers aren’t idiots, at least as defined by some of the geniuses who post here. They’re still in the very early stages of rebuilding an organization that has long been viewed as irrelevant and incompetent by the vast majority of NBA followers and participants. That perception only changes with a 180 in the win/loss column over time.

    A lot of tinkering, tweaking and trading to be done before we really see how good (or bad) this new regime is.

  • peets

    Charles Jenkins was drafted

  • derezee

    Cohan, groundhog day already?

    The Warriors had 1 player before today that could create his own shot. Now they have a 2nd. It’s pretty pointless to be mad about that, unless you’re super fond of the Ish Smith dribbling show.

  • Ewok

    A reaction to Steve’s take,

    Yes we have enough cieling of biggies, but how many of them are ready for the primetime or let’s say the playoffs? albeit bring us there? JT has yet to adjust and deliver, AB can’t control his demons, KB is a good back up at best, an d DL and EU are small centers. That’s it? Don’t you think we need a natural center? How do we handle the big pacific division? So far it works because of rotation, but all it takes is for DL to get injured the obvious takes place. Height registers impression but not necessarily results.Just my 20 cents.

    Back in the day, the bulls did well with a mediocre luc longley.

  • slamdunk

    This has got to be another Larry Riley deal, was West even consulted on this move? Sad to say that last season the Warriors unveiled a new logo, this year they unveiled a new front office, and a new coach, but in keeping the same GM, and the same starters from last year, these moves are basically putting lipstick on a pig. It is still a pig with the same problems as last season, except that for some reason Lacob is thinking that Jackson is going to turn this team into Harbaugh’s Niners. Joe, the Niners already had some big pieces in place, your basketball team does not, so having Riley bring in guys like Brown, Robinson, and Ish Smith is not going to put the team into the playoffs.

  • gtown1_sj

    Reggie Williams was a great shooter but a gate on defense. He scored 20 and the guy he guarded had 35. He played zero defense and if you like basketball like I do, he was a liability on defense and to me a waste on the court.

  • Thank god they signed Nate Robinson to close the gate, right Gtown?

  • esdfds

    shoulda waited for the knicks to drop jlin. pick him right back up to get defensive presence and 3 pt shooting

  • Dave

    Lee is going to love this move. He and David Lee are friends and came into the league together. Nate “The Great” is a very good player and will help the Warriors make the playoffs.

  • Dave
  • Dave

    $1 million for a poor man’s Monta Ellis. Don’t lose sight of the value. If Nate had better coaching in NY Nate would be out of the Warrior’s price range.

  • derezee

    death, taxes, CC hates what the Warriors did.

  • Unfortunately, Warriors continue to do stuff and THE WHOLE LEAGUE LAUGHS AT THEM. The local echo chamber hasn’t changed a bit, from Ray Ridder and co. on down to the hyper-administered “fan” forums.

    But happy to be the source of all the Warriors problems in your little mythology here. BIA.

    Poor Warriors!
    Just wait until NEXT year!
    We just bought the team!
    This is HARD!

  • deano

    Dave: You make good points about Nate’s experience, offensive potential and economic value. His signing makes sense, because 1) he brings more to the back-up PG spot than Ish Smith; and 2) I am not aware of any better PGs available right now.

  • earl monroe

    Yo Cohan, you trolling in here now

  • derezee

    cc, despite the consistency of your message, the quality of your writing is falling off noticeably. false hustle?

  • robert rowell

    i’m not sure in what universe this is a good signing, but i see that some of you think you live there. undersized combo guard head cases are a dime a dozen in this league. do we need depth at PG? absolutely. so what do the W’s do? sign ish and nate. that’s not exactly filling a need.

    i was at the NYE game and boy, this team looked absolutely awful without monta. goose is not back, unless being back means still playing terribly and dwright must be out of shape or something as i didn’t notice him doing much of anything. BUT we’re 2-3!!!! with the first 4 at home. is that good?

  • Derek

    Nate Robinson provides offensive we currently do not have coming off the bench. He also has the ability to speed up the pace of the offense.

    Nate Robinson is a HUGE upgrade over Ish Smith. He’s short, but very strong/beastly, basically an NBA version of Maurice Jones-Drew (my former next door neighbor).

  • Richard

    Lcacob hired Kieth Smart and Jerry West signed Brian Cardinal to a $35 million dollar contract in Memphis. That’s all you need to know. Game over.

  • Ryan

    “Brandon Rush has showed signs, but he hasn’t put together consecutive good offensive performances together yet.” If we Pacers fans had a nickel….we are much happier chanting “LOU!” than waiting for B-Rush’s potential to be realized…I do wish the Warriors luck, though. Other than that trade, thing seem to be going in a direction. Maybe even the right one.

  • earl monroe

    #34 there was quality in his writing?

  • Ewok

    At this juncture, The Warriors lost to the Ginobli-less Spurs. Nevermind the score which is 101-95. I am more concerned how we were outrebounded 37-45.

    Our solution for this problem, Nate Robinson.

  • ET

    WHy nate? coz nobody else avail. But I have better ideas:
    smuggle Kenyon Martin back from the communist, or suit up ANtoine walker from the D-league. Yea. that will work.