LAS VEGAS — He should start a fight.
It doesn’t matter who it’s with, it doesn’t matter what it’s about. A cheap shot under the basket. The temperature on the team bus to the arena. Who should be first in line at the breakfast buffet. Anything.
Just start a fight.
“I don’t think that’s necessary,” Glenn Robinson III said through a smile, getting the point but disagreeing with it. “It might happen in practice or something. I need to keep my head, keep my cool.”
He needs to show a fire. Robinson fell to the Timberwolves at No. 40 in the draft on June 26 because a lot of teams saw him as too passive in a 2013-14 at Michigan that was set up for success with the departures of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. but ended with questions about GRIII lacking intensity. They were frustrated that he didn’t seem more frustrated.
This summer league and the rookie season in Minnesota that follows is about proving he won’t cruise through games, that his attitude will match his billing as a small forward with the talent to be in the lottery conversation six or eight months ago. That talk faded, obviously, but the skill set did not, so Robinson begins the transition to the NBA needing to take on an image as well as every human opponent.
“Something that really helps me is just talking on the court, whether that’s smack talking or joking around,” he said. “It’s talking and keeping that motor up.”
It’s trash talking more than before.
“Oh, yeah,” Robinson said. “Definitely…. Whoever’s guarding me. Everybody talks out there. That’s something that’s a little trick that I’ve found to keep my motor up.”
The son of Big Dog Glenn Robinson, a two-time All-Star with the Bucks in the early-2000s as part of an 11-year career with four teams, is that conscious of wanting to appear locked in. Last season, he re-watched a lot of games the same night, sometimes with Michigan coaches and sometimes when he got home or back to the hotel room, not agreeing with the assessment that he was cruising but that there were “a couple possessions maybe I could sprint my lane a little faster or maybe try to grab some offensive rebounds.” Also, that “a lot of people tell me the game seems to come easy to me. I think that’s more what it is. I have the same facial expression or am relaxed all the time.”
Wanting to be much more than a what-could-have-been, GRIII is using the same level of self-analysis at the start of his NBA career. Because not agreeing with the assessment is different than not taking the comments to heart as a way to get better.
“I never felt like I was drifting or I never felt like I wasn’t playing 100 percent,” he said. “But if it’s there, you have to make adjustments. You have to change that.”
So, he trash talks. He jokes on the court. Anything to get a reaction. No fights, though.
Even if he should.