In the midst of a five-game losing streak, and with the reality of facing the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic before playing four road games in five nights, conventional wisdom might reason that the Warriors are headed for another season in the cellar.
Enter newly acquired Warrior Nate Robinson, who’s been counted out plenty of times before — and has always seemed to defy the odds.
“The tables will turn. I’ve been on a team where we lost 19, 20 straight games,” Robinson said. “So I’m telling these guys, ‘we just gotta keep playing and keep playing and it’s gonna turn around.’”
At 5-foot-9, Robinson was said to be too small to play in the NBA after a stellar collegiate career at Washington. He ignored the critics and by his third season, averaged 17.2 points, 4.1 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game for the New York Knicks. By his fifth year in the league, he had become the NBA’s first three-time slam dunk champion.
He’s had a rough road since then, seeing his playing time dwindle while being traded to the Boston Celtics and the Oklahoma City Thunder, who eventually waived him this past Christmas Eve. After being signed by the Warriors on Wednesday, Robinson is again taking the first steps toward proving his doubters wrong.
Beyond his Spud Webb-like leaping ability and level head in the face of adversity, Robinson has already shown the valuable experience and scoring he’ll bring. In his first home game as a Warrior on Saturday night against the Utah Jazz, Robinson tallied 11 points and five assists — and wasn’t afraid to get the crowd into the game.
Coach Mark Jackson said he isn’t surprised by Robinson’s impact thus far.
“He is exactly who we thought he was: high energy, explosive offensive guy, very passionate, great competitor,” Jackson said of the six-year veteran.
While Robinson was signed to come off the bench, he’s already shown value and symmetry with the Warriors’ offense, so it may be time to give him the starting nod until Stephen Curry returns from his latest ankle sprain.
He already seems to have a believer in Jackson.
“I did my homework and everybody I talked to raved about his love of the game of basketball, and even in talking to him, he convinced me that he was ready to buy in and do whatever I asked him to do, and he certainly has done that,” Jackson said.
As for the Warriors digging out of their current hole, Robinson is fully confident it can be done.
“As a team and as a unit we know we can do it,” he said. “We just have to figure out a formula that works, period.”
Heat (8-1) vs. Warriors (2-6)
WHEN: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Oracle Arena, Oakland
TV: Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
RADIO: KNBR (680 AM)