#NuggetsRank No. 6: Nate Robinson


Every year around this time ESPN introduces its annual #NBArank series codifying all 500 players in the NBA from least to most valuable. Last year Roundball Mining Company decided to get in on the action and began ranking each of the players on the Denver Nuggets’ final 15-man roster in the same fashion. We’ve polled all seven of our writers, asking them to arrange each player on the Nuggets roster from one to 15 (one being the best, 15 the least valuable), then we added everyone’s scores together to come up with a single, definitive list of the 15 “most valuable” Denver Nuggets. Checking in at number six is newcomer Nate Robinson.

Robinson, entering his ninth NBA season, is one of the most polarizing Nuggets players in recent memory.  Both his strengths and his shortcomings are abundant, which explains why he was available late in free agency for only the bi-annual exception.

Robinson is one of the league’s fastest players with the ball in his hands, but his speed does not always translate into easy looks.  Only 28% of his shots last year were in the paint, with 34% of his shots being long two pointers and 38% from behind the arc.  (For comparison, Ty Lawson took 47% of his shots at the rim, 29% were long two pointers, and 24% came from behind the arc.)  Robinson is an above-average three point shooter for his career, and was one of the league’s best volume shooters last season, but will need to resist the temptation to settle for long two point jumpers.  He is also willing and capable passer, posting an assist rate of over 30% and an assist to turnover ratio of 2.7 over the last two seasons.

Robinson’s small stature limits his effectiveness as a one on one defender and his effort was lacking during the early part of his career with the Knicks.  During his tenure with the Celtics and Bulls he showed a capability of playing fundamentally sound defense within a strong team concept.  If he reverts to old habits he could be a significant liability, but if he brings the sort of effort he showed in Chicago and Boston he could provide real defensive leadership to a team that has lacked that trait.

Leadership may be where Nate Robinson has the biggest influence.  The Nuggets have few veterans and little playoff experience beyond the first round.  Robinson has played meaningful minutes in the NBA Finals and can bring that perspective to a young team.  Unfortunately, he has also had his fair share of attitude problems and off-court incidents, which could be detrimental to a young team.  He is at a crossroads in his career, with the ability to become a solid veteran contributor and mentor or to become a distracting sideshow.

Entering the season Robinson seems to be the leading candidate to back up Ty Lawson.  If he can show maturity while running the offense at a Lawson-like pace, distribute the ball, shoot well, and play his role within the team defense, opposing benches will dread playing against Denver.  If not, he could find himself on the sidelines watching Andre Miller’s YMCA moves.


15. Anthony Randolph

14. Quincy Miller

13. Timofey Mozgov

12. Jordan Hamilton

11. Randy Foye

10. Darrell Arthur

9. J.J. Hickson

8. Andre Miller

7. Evan Fournier

6. Nate Robinson

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Tom Darrow

Fourth generation Denver native, stay-at-home dad with a masters degree in applied mathematics, and all-around geek with a passion for Nuggets basketball.
  • CD Pascual

    I can’t imagine Nate Rob being inside Shaw’s doghouse. It might happen, but I can’t see it. The guy just plays hard and I can’t envision Anre Miller torching him in training camp

  • Guest

    This is my favorite offseason move and I think he should start.

    • dynamo.joe


  • Robin GRAVES

    my favorite off season move. I was hoping Miller would be gone though.

  • slugdugg

    So far my favorite off-season move is the new giant jumbotrons…

  • Marv

    Best offseason move. I really hope this means Andre Miller is used in garbage minutes only. He is not meant to run this high octane offense.

  • pgwarner

    Pardon me, I just noticed that you rated Foye at #11! WTF? With respect how can your ratings be worth anything if you rate a starter below some STILL unproved “hopefuls”, role players and lower mins rotation players?

    • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com/ Kalen

      Well, to be fair, although Shaw recently hinted at Foye starting, the season is still three weeks away and until the first game kicks off or until Shaw definitively names his starting rotation, nothing is set in stone. For all we know, by the start of the season, Foye could be one of the last guys in the rotation.

      I don’t know how familiar you are with the NBA, but often times bench players are better than starters. James Harden was without question the third or second best player on his team when he was with the Thunder, yet he came off the bench in a sixth-man role. Manu Ginobili has been a sixth man nearly his entire career. In the NBA you need firepower off the bench to help your second unit stay competitive, and for this reason most teams have bench players who are better than the starters they replace.

  • COfoEVA

    Why do we still have miller on the roster?