Last week, we noted how Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, maestro of the NBA's most entertaining basketball, was cracking down on Seattle native and top-flight entertainer Nate Robinson. Since then, D'Antoni has cracked wise on Robinson's ball-handling skills and continued to bring the little man off the bench--or keep him there, as was the case for the last 5.5 minutes of a close loss to New Jersey yesterday.
This has frustrated ESPN's Chris Sheridan, who notes that Robinson has the league's third best scoring average in the last month and who, it seems, isn't the only one demanding to know why Robinson isn't starting and playing more. Writes Sheridan (in the sidebar marked "7"):
A grimace crossed Mike D'Antoni's face as he answered his final question of the night, one he could see coming from a mile away given the conversation we had shared an hour before tipoff.
"Would you explain, Coach, why you kept Nate Robinson on the bench for almost the entire final 5½ minutes?"
D'Antoni tells Sheridan "I know you're on the bandwagon, Chris," explains that Robinson--who has an injured ankle--was struggling, and says "maybe" he'll consider starting Robinson over Chris Duhon, a career back-up who exasperated the Chicago Bulls with his party habits and is better known for his lap-dance skills than his point guard skills.
What do the Knicks have to lose by giving Nate the ball, showing Duhon the bench and seeing what happens?
Nothing. Which is why it should happen beginning Tuesday night in Milwaukee.