So, the NBA trading deadline has come and gone and your Boston Celtics acquired Nate Robinson and the lesser known Landry brother from the New York Knicks for Eddie House, JR Giddens and Bill Walker. I’m guessing some of you, if not most, are underwhelmed. You had Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Kevin Martin and Amar’e Stoudemire dancing in your heads, but instead were left with an enigmatic 5’9” Knicks backup. Does this trade make the Celtics better? Is it enough?
First off, this trade upgrades the Celtics. Giddens and Walker weren’t going to play for this team anytime soon and were financial casualties of the deal. Marcus Landry was facing the same situation in the Empire State and now hopes to survive in Boston as part of the bench. The trade, therefore, in its simplest terms is House for Robinson.
Nate Robinson is a better basketball player than Eddie House. He may have a worse attitude, allegedly, but as far as basketball skill, Robinson is superior. He handles the ball better, plays better defense (yes, House IS that bad defensively) and creates better offensive opportunities. I hear the whispers that Nate can’t pass or won’t pass, but I think that’s overblown. This is a guy who’s averaging nearly four assists per game, while only playing 24 minutes/game for a terrible team.
House is a better pure shooter, but his deficiencies in other areas were finally too glaring to look past. Robinson will bring energy, scoring, intensity, attitude and capable minutes to the backup point position. He’s also six years younger than House and has something to prove as a pending free agent and labeled “problem child”.
I think Robinson is part of the solution to a playoff run. This team lacks energy and that is exactly what Robinson brings in spades. Yeah, he annoys me at times and I didn’t like him as an opposing player, but I’m willing to look at this objectively. This team drastically needs a spark. The Celtics need consistent bench scoring, which Robinson will bring. If House isn’t hitting jump shots, he isn’t scoring. Robinson is averaging over 13 points a game off the bench. Earlier this season, he scored 41 points off the bench in his first game back after sitting out 14 games. He helps this team.
Notice, however, that I wrote that he’s part of the solution. Robinson, if Boston doesn’t improve from a health standpoint, is not enough. He’s a good addition, but he’s not the addition. The problem with this team right now is age and health. Kevin Garnett is not 100% and Paul Pierce is slowed by a couple of injuries. Without KG at his best, this team will struggle in the playoffs, especially against teams like Atlanta, Orlando and Cleveland.
The starting unit doesn’t have the proverbial fire and they commonly run out of gas by the end of the first half. Is it physical? Is it mental? Or, is it both? I’m not sure those questions can be answered nor if they need to be. It just needs to change for this team to have a chance. There’ll be no miracle trades or monster acquisitions, so what’s there left to do as a Celtic fan? Hope for health…