The Robinson trade — in and of itself — was actually a good one. Robinson is more athletic than Eddie House. He can get to the rim almost at will. He’s electric. He shoots pretty well. He’ll give the Celtics something they sorely need; a scorer and creator off the bench. And who knows? Maybe if he stands on his tippy-toes he’ll even be able to ride the roller-coasters at the local Six Flags.
You can talk about Robinson’s coach-irritating habits, but he’s not too bad a guy. D’Antoni disliked him just because he’s a goofball. Plain and simple. He isn’t a thug. He’s not going to end up in jail, or bring a gun to the locker room, or threaten to kill fans out on Causeway Street. He might shoot a jumper on the wrong basket — after the buzzer, at least — or he might joke around during practice, but other than that Robinson’s not so bad.
The problem with this isn’t how the Nate Robinson trade affects the Celtics; the trade should help make Boston a better team.
The problem is that the trade stood alone.
Tiny Tim helps the Celtics, but he won’t cure them. He will aid them, but he’s not going to transform them into a championship team. He’ll dunk a few times, but he won’t change the entire complexion of a team seemingly in desperate need of a serious makeover.
On the other hand, perhaps Nate will be the spark the C’s need. Maybe he’s the kick in the butt to get them back on track. The Shortest — and only — three-time NBA Slam Dunk Champion will undoubtedly bring energy and boyish enthusiasm, and possibly a breath of fresh air to a team thirsty for a pick-me-up.
But count me as someone who doesn’t think Robinson has what it takes to put Boston over the top. He’s simply not good enough to single-handedly make them a better third-quarter team, or to solve their rebounding woes, or even to be much of an improvement over House. Is it even possible to believe a team hovering near .500 basketball during the past two months will snap out of it just because they traded for Nate Robinson?
The Celtics needed surgery, and they got a band-aid.
Danny Ainge knows Nate Robinson isn’t going to catapult the Celtics ahead of Cleveland, L.A., Orlando or Atlanta. With this trade, and the otherwise silent trade front that accompanied it, Ainge sent a memo to his starters:
“This is on you. You got yourselves into this mess, now get yourselves out of it.”
And the starters are capable. Injuries be damned and age considered, this team has the talent to make some noise. Big noise. Title noise.
Still, I’m not sure the “this mess is yours, clean it up” message is the one Ainge necessarily wanted to send. The Boston Herald reported that Ainge looked into acquiring Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, Caron Butler, Michael Beasley, Andre Iguodala, and Monta Ellis. And I’m sure there were others. He wanted a young star — a garbage man to clean up the mess — or at least a semi-young one, but instead was forced to settle for Nate Robinson.
Perhaps the trade will change everything for them. Not because Robinson helps so much, but simply by the Butterfly Effect. You know, the flapping of one little butterfly’s wings changes everything.
Maybe that’s just what Nate Robinson is. Amare Stoudemire is a hawk. Antawn Jamison is an eagle. Caron Butler is a falcon. And Nate’s nothing but a little butterfly. There were some big birds to capture, but in the end the Celtics settled for netting the little wing-flapping bugger who began as a caterpillar.
There was no Godsend sent from elsewhere in the Association. No earthquake to shake things up. No gift-wrapped star from a loving GM. No Pau Gasol or Antawn Jamison.
Instead, there was Donnie Walsh, skillfully and riskily shedding salaries to make a run at prime free agents this summer, trading a tiny guard to Boston in the process.
The player he traded away is a small, electric guard capable of scoring points in a hurry. But don’t get it twisted; the Celtics didn’t trade for Allen Iverson.
Nate Robinson is not The Answer.