This was the place Duncan Robinson anticipated to be. On the courtroom at Wells Fargo Center. In the center of the NBA playoff schedule. In full sweat. Shooting, passing, scoring.
And but this additionally on no account may have been what the fourth-year Miami Heat guard may have probably envisioned as his place in May 2022.
The work got here on Saturday afternoon, stands empty, effectively after apply was over, lengthy after Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler had exited the constructing, between Games 3 and 4 of the Heat’s Eastern Conference semifinals collection in opposition to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Instead of being alongside Butler, Lowry, and even different rotation gamers, this was Robinson discovering motion in three-on-three with Javonte Smart, Mychal Mulder, Haywood Highsmith, Omer Yurtseven and Caleb Martin.
Having fallen out of the rotation, it was a matter of taking no matter work he may discover.
Even if it meant going face to face in opposition to Yurtseven on this makeshift 3-on-3 matchup, defending within the publish in opposition to a middle.
“Just to stay in shape, it’s good for sure,” Robinson mentioned forward of the Heat’s Sunday night time Game 4 assembly with the 76ers within the best-of-seven collection. “Just to keep it fresh, keep it moving.”
As with nearly all issues Heat, the 3-on-3 hardly was innocuous competitors, with coach Erik Spoelstra and assistants Chris Quinn and Caron Butler amongst these trying on.
But, no, that is what neither Robinson nor the Heat signed up for when Robinson signed a five-year, $90 million contract in August, coming off two of essentially the most dynamic 3-point seasons within the franchise’s 34 years.
But with Max Strus inserted into the beginning lineup in March and with Victor Oladipo incomes rotation minutes in the course of the first-round ouster of the Atlanta Hawks, that is the place Robinson stands.
As an outsider relating to enjoying time.
“I mean it’s been a challenge,” Robinson mentioned to a pair of reporters as he walked off the courtroom, the remainder of the media having departed, “but it comes with the territory. It’s part of being a professional.”
As the Heat went into Game 4, Robinson had appeared for simply 55 seconds within the collection, mop-up obligation on the finish of the Game 2 victory at FTX Arena.
As for the tip of the Game 3 blowout loss? Not even that.
“Whatever Coach needs me to do,” Robinson mentioned of such motion. “He tells me to go in, I go in. He doesn’t tell me to go in, I don’t go in.”
Otherwise, Robinson finds himself in the identical mode on sport nights as Yurtseven, Highsmith, Smart and Mulder, greeting gamers at midcourt as they arrive to the bench throughout breaks, or providing encouragement as play continues in his absence.
“I’m on the court, my job is to play basketball to the best of my abilities, help us win,” he mentioned. “If I’m not on the court, help us win. If that’s being a supportive teammate, that’s what I do.”
Saturday, he and Martin had been the final two gamers off the courtroom following apply, every having been out and in of the rotation as complementary gamers.
No, not when Robinson had envisioned in August, however nonetheless a part of a journey that led to his sudden NBA breakthrough within the first place, from NCAA Division III roots after which as an undrafted free agent.
So, sure, he has been right here earlier than.
“I mean, I didn’t play a lot in high school, so probably then,” he mentioned of the final time in his basketball profession that sport nights got here with no assurance of enjoying time. “I had stretches in Michigan [with the Wolverines] when I didn’t play, as well.”
Just as the perfect of instances, as just lately as the primary sport of the primary spherical, when he drained eight 3-pointers and scored 27 factors off the bench in opposition to the Hawks, it stays a matter of taking no matter comes his method.
“I mean that’s part of being a professional,” he mentioned, “part of my job.”