The bench makeover continues.
The Chicago Bulls are working on a deal to sign guard Nate Robinson, but nothing was official as of early Monday evening, according to sources familiar with the situation.
A report by SI.com reporter Sam Amick cited Robinson’s agent Aaron Goodwin as saying Robinson will sign with the Bulls “barring unforeseen problems.”
Robinson also tweeted a picture of himself wearing a Bulls No. 2 jersey.
(I’m not going to get into how that was Norm Van Lier’s number and should be retired in his honor…)
If the Bulls spent this offseason finding ciphers for the bench players they let walk or traded away — C.J. Watson became Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler replaces Ronnie Brewer, Marco Belinelli takes over for Kyle Korver, and Nazr Mohammed is your older-and-creakier Omer Asik — then little Nate will take over the John Lucas III memorial “bench scorer without a conscious” role.
I suppose you could argue that Robinson is actually an upgrade from Lucas. Last season with the Golden State Warriors, Nate appeared in 51 games, averaging 11.2 points, 4.5 assists and 2.0 rebounds in 23.4 minutes a night.
And although his shooting wasn’t great — 42.4 percent from the field and 36.5 percent on threes — he was reasonably efficient at what he did, compiling a PER of 18.0. For comparison’s sake, that would have ranked fourth on the Bulls behind Derrick Rose (23.0), Carlos Boozer (19.7) and Joakim Noah (19.6)…and ahead of valued guys like Taj Gibson (16.9) and Luol Deng (14.1).
Of course, it remains to be seen whether Robinson — an athletic and aggressive scorer who likes to pound the ball and launch shots whenever possible (and sometimes when not possible) — can function within Tom Thibodeau’s methodical offense. Remember: Nate played 55 games for the Celtics between the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, and Thibs was an assistant for C’s in 2009-10. During his time Boston, Nate canned only 32.8 percent of his triples and 36.0 percent of his long two-pointers.
It’s no coincidence that Robinson’s best scoring seasons were with the Knicks and Warriors…free flowing offensive systems that gave him the freedom and opportunity to shoot at will. I’m not sure that will be the case for him in Chicago.
Then again, Lucas had that 28-shot game against the Wizards last season, so who knows.
This move does have me scratching my head a bit. According to the ESPNChicago story, Robinson would back up Hinrich at point guard while Rose is rehabbing his knee.
What about Marquis Teague?
With Rose out a large chunk (if not all) of the season, there probably won’t be a better time to get the Teague significant minutes. If the season is going to be something of a wash, why not develop the rookie as much as possible? Most coaches tend to go with vets over rookies, and that was certainly the case with Butler last season. I’m guessing Thibodeau will be more likely to bring Nate in off the bench over Marquis.
But hey, it’s all guesswork at this point.