Robinson On Rose-Less Bulls: ‘They’ll Figure Out A Way To Win’


DALLAS — Back in Chicago for a late October preseason game, Nuggets guard Nate Robinson acknowledged how much he missed his old Bulls teammates with whom he’d been through so much during last season’s inspiring and trying ride without Derrick Rose.

Exactly a month later, with Rose having undergone season-ending knee surgery Monday, it’s the Bulls who might miss Robinson more than they could have imagined.

An important offensive spark and a big-shot maker during his one season with Chicago, Robinson never got the chance to play with Rose. Just four nights ago, he faced off against him in Denver, going for 11 points and three assists to help his new club beat the Bulls by 10. The next night at Portland, Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee just 10 games into his return from the torn ACL in his left knee that kept him out all of last season.

“Sad,” Robinson told Monday night as the Nuggets prepared to face the Dallas Mavericks. “It’s sad for me, it’s sad for him, I know for sure. My son was really sad about it because he loved Derrick Rose. He got a picture with him last year. He was so excited.”

The entire NBA was excited to have Rose, the 2010-11 league MVP, back in action. Suddenly, and sadly, everybody’s wondering if Chicago can reset again without their star point guard and grind out another season without him. That process has started excruciatingly slow in the immediate aftermath. On Sunday in Los Angeles, the Clippers hammered the Bulls by 39 points, 121-82. Playing at one-win Utah on Monday, the Bulls struggled again, losing, 89-83 to the Jazz in OT.

“It’s tough. It’s definitely going to hurt them, but they’re tough, man,” Robinson said. “They’ll figure out a way to win. They always do.”

They’ll have to do it without the bolt of energy that is the 5-foot-9 Robinson, who produced one of those familiar scoring flurries in Dallas with 17 points, 13 coming in the fourth quarter that included three 3-pointers to help the Nuggets get a 110-96 road win. With Chicago, Robinson averaged 25.4 mpg and played in all 82 games for the injury-riddled squad. He averaged 13.1 ppg and 4.4 apg for the Bulls, and 16.3 ppg during their gritty playoff run into the East semifinals that included an unforgettable 34-point explosion in the triple-overtime Game 4 win in the first round against the Nets.

Robinson started 23 games and was indispensable to Chicago’s success considering Kirk Hinrich, who again takes over as the starting point guard, played in just 60 games last season.

In Sunday’s loss to the Clippers, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau started Mike Dunleavy alongside Hinrich with regular starter Jimmy Butler (sprained big toe) still injured. Monday night at Utah, Thibodeau gave rookie Tony Snell the start. At the point, Chicago also has veteran journeyman Mike James and second-year point guard Marquis Teague, who played in 48 games last season and had played in just half of the Bulls’ first 12 games.

Considering the circumstance, Robinson, who signed a two-year, $4.1-million free-agent deal with the Nuggets, would likely again be counted on as a big-minute contributor in Chicago. But he’s long gone.

“I don’t know what they need. I don’t know nothing about it,” Robinson said of the Bulls’ predicament. “I know these guys here, I got their backs, my new teammates.”

It hasn’t been instant success start for Robinson, 29, in Denver, which has a glut of backcourt players with Randy Foye starting alongside Ty Lawson, and a bench that includes veteran Andre Miller, who still logs 18.9 mpg, plus second-year swingman Evan Fournier. New coach Brian Shaw is playing Robinson 16.9 mpg. He’s averaging 7.5 ppg and 2.3 apg. He’s shooting 34.4 percent from the floor, although 40.6 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.

After a sluggish start to the season, the up-tempo Nuggets are now 7-6 and on a three-game win streak as they adjust to Shaw’s more inside-out offensive approach. Forward Wilson Chandler recently returned to the lineup and at some point forward Danilo Gallinari will make his return from the ACL injury he sustained last April.

Still, the Nuggets are getting up and down the floor, a quick pace that seems a natural fit for the frenetic Robinson.

“I just like to play basketball,” he said.


  1. nate the great says:

    nate the great, as I call him is so underrated. he played great with the knicks, warriors and bulls. if he was with the lakers right now he would get buckets. There is a rumor that the nets are interested in him now.

  2. Rhedz says:

    I hope nate would play for the bulls again in the future…Hopefully, He team hops..His good and i just hope he finds a good team that will not let him go and make him a regular starter. Denvers lucky to have this guy on their team. The explosiveness he brings the energy and the heart he has is way bigger than Yao, Shaq and Howard combined. This little man is the spud Webb Bogues of this generation. I only got one thing againts Nate, that is his temper..His very aggresive which is good sometimes but not everytime. Hope he can contain himself…Goodluck with the bulls..I hope Rose get well soon as his team really really really needs him now. Goodluck to nate my man, keep what you doing and hope you retire with the bulls someday. Cheers

  3. okc2014 says:

    When I heard that Derrick Rose would be out for the season, the very first thing that came to my mind was that they traded Nate Robinson immaturely. Funny that there is an article about his thoughts on this. Yes, Nate worked very hard for the Bulls last year, and it’s amazing that he and Derrick Rose never even got to play side by side. I bet the Bulls miss him about right n now. I still think the Denver Nuggets are cheapskates and are got Nate for NBA “minimum wage”.

  4. MasterPiece says:

    It’s sad for the Bulls but at some point we must be realistic. When Rose come back last month from injury after a year & when I saw him play at the beginning I was like “wowowo take it easy D-Rose you just come back from an hard injury why u you’re going so fast?!?!?” . I don’t wanna be a wizard or something like that but I saw this injury coming for him way long ago. Now even if he’s comeback next year he must learn how to change his game play & not trying to run the floor & do dangerous fast breaks all time for the team !!!!

  5. luckyfri says:

    for sure the bulls know a way to win because they already did last year. however they are not a contender and thats what that Team was mentioned for