By Aldo Avinante
Everyone is asking where is Derrick Rose? When will he return? Is he healthy enough to play?
What everyone should consider is to appreciate what we are seeing right now in his replacement at the starting lead guard spot for the Chicago Bulls, Nate Robinson.
Generously listed at 5’9”, the journeyman guard was an afterthought at the start of the season signed by the Bulls to a veteran minimum to backup Kirk Hinrich until the arrival of their MVP from injury.
But through all the injuries, by January, little Nate was guaranteed to finish the season with the Bulls and somehow played his way to the starting lineup.
Month by month the Washington product keeps on challenging the odds, producing impressive games and holding his own and eventually leading the Bulls to a fifth seed finish in the Eastern Conference.
Robinson is an offensive enigma, he’s supposed to not be able to hang with the big guns of the league but he keeps on defying logic by scoring in a variety of ways.
Nate, in simplified terms, can be described as diminutive but deadly. Short but definitely on point as to what he brings to the team. Under the drill sergeant Coach Tom Thibodeau, their partnership seemed out of sorts but somehow it is working to their advantage.
The Playoffs was the coming out party for the three-time NBA Slam Dunk champion.
The perfect example for their grind it out style is Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the defending champion Miami Heat.
With the game on the line and tied 86-all with less than two minutes remaining, the unpredictability and brash attitude of Robinson came into play. He scored the final seven points of the game and just like that, a 1-0 home court advantage for the Bulls.
Joakim Noah may probably be the heart of the Bulls in this playoff run while Carlos Boozer is the muscle and Coach Thibs as the mind but little Nate is the blood that pumps them all together to work as a unit giving the surge needed, for them to work.
Nate Robinson is the champion of all the small men who watch the game made for big men. The rallying point of players in the world thinking if he can do it so can I, Robinson and all players below six feet will always be the inspiration for small quick guards.
Nate scored 27 points and delivered 9 assists in the Game 1 upset – numbers that are similar to what 2011 MVP Derrick Rose brings to the table.
So instead of thinking when the MVP will be back, think about how this journeyman player defying all the odds and leading a legitimate contender in the playoffs could actually be the man for the job.