DENVER -- Nate Robinson spent Sunday at the Celtics’ practice facility, presumably watching at least a little bit of his new team’s loss to the Denver Nuggets. Robinson won’t meet Doc Rivers until Monday morning, at which point the two will sit down to chat and watch some film and start to figure out how best to integrate him into a team that still has championship aspirations.
Robinson still won’t be familiar with most of the playbook, both at the offensive end and defensive end, when he makes his debut with the Celtics on Tuesday against his former team the New York Knicks.
“He’s not going to know anything by Tuesday, I can tell you that,” Rivers said. “When he comes in, we’ll run pick and roll.”
But with a relatively successful road trip in the rear-view mirror -- even a lackluster effort in Denver on Sunday couldn’t overshadow wins against Sacramento, Portland and the Los Angeles Lakers -- the Celtics are eager to see what they can do with Robinson on board.
The 5-foot-9 guard is averaging 13.2 points and 3.7 assists this season, and he went off for 41 points in his first game after being benched for almost the entire month of December.
It’s not just at the offensive end, either. Robinson averaged 1.3 steals per game last season and was averaging 0.9 steals per game even in sporadic playing time this season.
“We know he can score a lot of points,” Kevin Garnett said. “We know he brings a lot of energy to the building. He plays with his heart. I love that about him. The Knicks are not known for their defense these days, but if you’re a player or a coach or an assistant coach in this league, you know he’s active out there. He gets steals. He gets his hands in passing lanes. He picks the ball up. Other than Rondo, we haven’t had a guy like that.”
This week will be the first time they’ll have a chance to see what it’s like.
“We’ve got to make sure we welcome him, make sure he’s comfortable whether it’s on the court or off the court,” Ray Allen said. “He’s who we need. He’s what we’ve got. There’s nobody else coming, and we want to go deep into the playoffs. The better he plays, the better we are as a team.”