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Glenn Robinson III on why Kerr’s Warriors were a slamdunk next stop

One of the newest Warriors, Glenn Robinson III, takes an Uber to work because he has yet to ship his Porsche Panamera to his San Francisco apartment. He was on his way to Chase Center for the Warriors’ second game of the preseason, and the Uber driver didn’t recognize him.

Then came his highlight of the preseason. Early in the first quarter, Robinson bothered a layup attempt by Timberwolves wing Andrew Wiggins, his hand almost a foot over the basket when he deflected the shot. Robinson landed, turned and darted up the court.

Draymond Green, who got the rebound, ran beside him before delivering a behind-the-back pass perfectly placed to lead Robinson to the rim, who laid it in with his left. In some ways, this play was a year in the making.

Green tried to convince Robinson to sign with the Warriors before last season. However, the Warriors were flush with perimeter talent and couldn’t promise Robinson he would play significant minutes.

Robinson instead signed with the Pistons, who gave him the indication he’d play a major role for them. By the end of the season, however, he was out of the rotation.

He averaged 13 minutes in 47 games, and went from making nearly 40 percent of his 3s to making just 29 percent. He calls it the worst season of his career. This past summer, he was committed to finding a better situation. The goal going into year six, he said, is to become a starter.

“It’s up to you to respond and pick yourself up. Everybody goes through something. I could have given up, and I’ve seen other people do that,” Robinson told Bay Area News Group. “How bad do you want it, and how much does it mean to you?”

As a kid growing up in Indiana, all Robinson wanted was to dunk. Before his growth spurt at a high school sophomore, Robinson did everything he could to touch rim. He got the right shoes, made his mom buy training DVDs and went on frequent runs up hills.

When he saw a staircase, he saw an opportunity to bang out some calf raises. As his hands grew, he progressed from dunking golf balls, to tennis balls, to volleyballs, and so on. Meanwhile, he said, he was still shooting with two hands.

“My grandma said, ‘Why don’t you focus on basketball? Why don’t you just focus on hitting a shot?’” Robinson said.

Robinson still remembers his first dunk: “It was crazy, because it wasn’t like a little rim grazer. I didn’t come from the front. It was an AAU practice. I came from the side and just flushed it.”

From there, Robinson continued to increase his vertical. His college coaches at Michigan had to prop the vertical jump challenger on top of a platform to measure his maximum leap — 12 feet, 3 inches.

In his third NBA season, Robinson won the Slam Dunk Contest, bringing his childhood dream full circle by jumping over Paul George, a Pacers cheerleader and a mascot. However, Robinson soon found he was marginalized in the league. Teams stuck him in the corner and asked him to hit 3s. His time in Detroit was especially frustrating.

“I didn’t play that much there. They didn’t maximize anything in my game,” Robinson said.Coaches didn’t communicate with him about why he fell out of the rotation. After the season, Robinson’s agent reached out to the Warriors to see if they were still interested in signing him. They were. Only, they had other business to sort out first. Namely, Kevin Durant.

Once Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets, Warriors general manager Bob Myers embarked on an on-the-fly rebuild beginning with a sign-and-trade for point guard D’Angelo Russell. Forward Andre Iguodala was traded, guard Shaun Livingston was waived, and the Warriors embraced a youth movement.

Robinson had offers from the Rockets and Warriors on the table. One of the things that set the Warriors a part was coach Steve Kerr.

“He knows I’m more than a guy who stands in the corner, and for the last five years that’s been what I’ve done. Stand in the corner, play defense and try to fit in,” Robinson said. “But the way that this system is, it can make everybody flow and make everybody work. It’s perfect for my game, just being able to run, get out and play free.”

In three preseason games, two starts, Robinson is back to shooting 40 percent from 3-point range while averaging 7.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists. Oh, and he has four dunks. His play in preseason and in practice has put him in position to be the opening day starter at small forward.

“Showing them throughout camp, showing them in a couple of games in the preseason, I really started to gain some trust in the league,” Robinson said. “A guy being [in the NBA] six years, you’ve got to be doing something right.”

So, has the Uber driver recognized him yet?

“Yeah. Last game,” Robinson said. “People are starting to notice.”


Source: East Bay Glenn Robinson III on why Kerr’s Warriors were a slamdunk next stop

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