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Bulls’ Nate Robinson wins first Player of the Week Award
The NBA’s Player of the Week Award is inconsequential chump-change hardware for most of the recipients. Kevin Durant has won it four times already this season. LeBron James has won three times after winning six times last season.
But for Bulls guard Nate Robinson, it’s an accomplishment with a little more meaning. Most of Robinson’s acclaim in his seven-year NBA career has come from his unique athletic ability and effusive personality — dunking and blocking shots at 5-foot-9 or animatedly celebrating a spectacular play.
On Monday, Robinson was honored for helping his team win. The veteran point guard was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Robinson averaged 17.8 points and 6.8 assists with 2.5 steals in four games against the Charlotte Bobcats (15 points, seven rebounds, four assists), the Milwaukee Bucks (24 points on 9-of-11 shooting), the Brooklyn Nets (12 points, 11 assists, two turnovers) and the Atlanta Hawks (20 points, 4-of-6 three-pointers, eight assists, three steals). The Bulls went 3-1.
”It’s a byproduct of the team winning. It’s the entire team playing well,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. ”Of course he was terrific. It helps our team get recognized. That’s what I’m pleased with — it’s the winning that helps them get recognized.”
Robinson, who had never won the award before, came off the bench in victories over the Bobcats and Bucks. He started in place of injured point guard Kirk Hinrich against the Nets and Hawks and played well in an all-around role — scoring, passing, directing the team and playing defense –he’s not known for. The 19 assists in the two starts are the most he’s had in back-to-back games in his NBA career.
”My teammates, I guess they’re making me look better than what I really am,” Robinson said. ”I pass the ball, they shoot and they make it. That’s part of basketball.
”But for us, I just try to make the right play. Stay in attack mode. Guys are making shots. If they don’t, I help out and get the layup. I just try to stay aggressive and get everybody involved.”
Robinson’s teams were 179-269 (.400) coming into this season, with two playoff appearances (2010 with the Celtics, 2011 with the Thunder). He’s become a better all-around player with the Bulls — under Thibodeau he wouldn’t be playing at all if he wasn’t. And he seems to appreciate the role he’s playing.
”This is probably the best team I’ve been on. It’s fun to be around these guys,” Robinson said. ”It’s easy to go out there and play. Coach makes it easy for us. My teammates make it easy. I love [it] here.”