Is anybody else losing sleep wondering how Nate Robinson might play if he were to return to the Knicks' rotation? Odds are Nate won't be back any time soon, but I can't help but wonder if the little guy's stay in the doghouse has marked some sort of metamorphosis. Recent events notwithstanding, Robinson has been remarkably, unwaveringly positive in his time away from the court. Like I said yesterday, Nate is always engaged in encouraging his teammates from the bench, he's saying the right things on Twitter, and continues to prepare for each game as if he'll be playing. All that positivity makes me curious. I assume that Mike D'Antoni's benching of Robinson had a lot to do with his flamboyance, carelessness and inability to focus his immense skills into efficient on-court production. What if Nate's absence came with a moment of reflection and self-realization? Picture this:
Robinson checks into a game early in the second quarter. It's a road game, so as to minimize hubbub in the crowd. Nate immediately leaves his mark on the game's events. He plays pesky full-court defense on the opposing point guard, attacks the basket, gets to the line, dishes a few assists, and hits some open jumpers. At one point, he throws an alley-oop to Danilo Gallinari. Nate's solid defense and perhaps a big bucket down the stretch ice the game for the Knicks. He does this all without so much as opening his mouth, except to talk strategy with Toney Douglas (who is also getting minutes). From that point forward, Nate happily accepts a sixth man role, averaging 15 and 5 off the bench and leading the team in steals. He doesn't pick up a single technical foul for the rest of the year and shoots only at the opposing basket. Nate acknowledges that the time off helped him find himself and reevaluate his play (adding that he now aspires to "do what Toney Douglas do"), and Mike D'Antoni is commended for the benching. (Note: I picture Nate doing this all with a full beard, but I can't confirm that he has the ability nor intention to grow one.)
Anybody else been fantasizing, or am I alone here? Suffice to say that if Nate Robinson does return, and is nothing but the same old Nate, I'd be very disappointed. For now, I dream.