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Thomas Alter Headshot

Why Does the NBA Hate 'Lil Nate?

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It seems NBA general managers have been listening to too much Randy Newman recently. If "short people got no reason to live," then they certainly got no reason to play in the NBA.

As this offseason has shown, roster management is a lesson in contrasting styles. Some teams have found success going the Billy Beane route, Daryl Morey in Houston being the most obvious and current example while others have seen their analytic strategies develop more slowly.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Nets' Billy King throws millions of dollars at every problem he sees, a largely ineffective, quintessential New York (though others are guilty as well) strategy.

The one thing everyone seems to agree on, is they don't want Nate Robinson. The 5'8 (on a good day), coiled ball of energy is apparently only worth a minimum deal, the same contract usually reserved for geriatric veterans looking to win a ring while waiving a towel from the bench.
While Robinson is still best known for winning the dunk contest three times and his energetic, slightly erratic personality, he has turned into a very solid point guard.

Keep in mind, this is the same Robinson who scored 13 points a game and averaged a career high in assists and three-point shooting percentage this past year. The same Robinson who helped carry a Bulls team, whose front office apparently decided to take a vacation once they realized Derrick Rose wasn't coming back, through the first round of the playoffs. The same Robinson who scored a "Like Mike"-esque 23 points in the fourth quarter of a playoff game, went toe-to-toe with LeBron James for an entire series, and played a Game Six while intermittently throwing up on the bench.

As free agency dwindles down, it's beginning to feel a little bit like the cards are stacked against 'Lil Nate.

The Warriors opted to sign Toney Douglas over Robinson. Douglas, a relic of the Isiah Thomas reign in Gotham, is memorable in that he played for one of the biggest train wrecks in NBA history, yet nobody knows a thing about him.

The Bucks, who are challenging the George Zimmerman prosecution and Johnny Depp for worst summer of 2013, decided to sign guard Carlos Delfino to a $10 million deal. The same Delfino who the Rockets paid to go away and has worse numbers in every way than Robinson.

It seems almost unfathomable that the Bulls would let Nate walk away after the season he had, but that appears to be the case. Backup Chicago point guard Kirk Hinrich has the health of Daffy Duck, and third stringer Marquis Teague has the range of a Freddie Prinze Jr. movie, so the Bulls seem destined to ride a now-healthy Derrick Rose into the ground once more.

Robinson remaining on the scrap heap while after-thoughts like Douglas and Delfino sign new deals, seems fundamentally unfair. The little kid on the playground getting ignored by the Ice Cream man, while his bigger, clumsier friends get seconds and thirds.

But fear not, Nate. At the risk of making a comparison based solely on looks, Robinson should take solace in the career of comedian Kevin Hart. The 5'2 star wallowed away through much of the last decade, playing small roles in B-level comedies, where he was clearly funnier than his co-stars.

Hart's new solo film "Let Me Explain" grossed $17 million this past weekend, a record-breaking opening for a standup comedian. Hopefully Robinson gets a chance to "explain" somewhere soon.

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