Former Clippers G Nate Robinson to sign with Pelicans


The last time we saw Nate Robinson on a NBA court, the Seattle native was doing his best to remain apart of the Los Angeles Clippers’ roster late in the season, joining on a 10-day deal as the franchise dealt with injury in the backcourt. Unfortunately — even with lackluster player during the stint — it was injury that’d force the Clippers to move on from Robinson, opting to go into the season with Lester Hudson as the third-string point guard instead.

And then the summer came, and it didn’t look like teams were greatly interested in the 10-year veteran — or he lacked interest in offers put on the table — as rumors connected Robinson to a potential deal in China.

Now he’s back in the NBA, again thanks to injury, as Marc Stein of ESPN reports Robinson has agreed to a one-year deal with the New Orlean Pelicans.

Prior to signing Robinson, the Pelicans were equipped with three point guards on the roster: Jrue Holiday, who is expected to be on a strict minutes restriction until December, Norris Cole, who was recently sidelined due to a high ankle sprain, and Bo McCalebb of Italian League fame, whom the team reached an agreement today.

Given the multiple bodies at the same position, making the Pelicans’ final 15-man roster will not be an easy task for the multi-time dunk champion in Nate Robinson.

As with any player, the first step in growing closer to the final 15 is proving he can contribute as a role player, something he’s failed to do since returning from the ACL injury suffered in June of 2014. In 33 games with the Denver Nuggets last season, Robinson averaged 5.8 points per game on 34 percent shooting, one of the worst marks of his career with any team, and 2.3 assists per game. Later traded to the Boston Celtics — for Jameer Nelson — and waived and eventually finding himself on a 10-day deal Robinson just couldn’t find himself out of the shooting funk, averaging 5.1 points on 33 percent shooting;  a second 10-day deal later, and the Clippers agreed to part ways with the guard.

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The issue with Robinson during his time with the Clippers, if my mind serves me correctly, was the simple inability to knock down shots. And if Robinson is unable to score, there’s little reason to keep him around as size makes him an ineffective defender and contributions aren’t often made elsewhere — basically, points is the name of this game.

In New Orleans, if Alvin Gentry can get the combo guard on the floor, he’ll have the opportunity to prove he can return to the scorer he once was in New York, or most recently Chicago, where he averaged 13.1 points in 25.4 minutes per game during the 2012-13 season.

If not, Robinson may have no choice but to head overseas to continue his professional basketball career, at least until after January when teams are allowed to sign players on 10-day contracts.

Robinson was drafted 21st overall in the 2005 NBA Draft, and has played for the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, and Los Angeles Clippers over the course of 10 NBA seasons.

Next: NBA Global Games: How the Clippers fared in China