The Luke Walton All-Stars: Nine surprising players from this NBA season

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Erik Spoelstra sat with Robinson before Miami sent him to the G League last season, and delivered two messages. First: Shoot 20 3s in at least one game. “His eyes bulged out,” Spoelstra recalled. Second: You are going to guard the other team’s best wing scorer every night. “You’re gonna get torched,” Spoelstra warned. “Picked on, targeted, everything. It’s going to be ugly. But I’m not going to judge you. You will be better for this.”

Robinson was used to bad odds. He attracted so little interest as a high school recruit that he took a post-graduate year at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. He drew the attention of Williams — in Division III. He excelled, and transferred to Michigan — where he averaged nine points per game.nike nfl jersey cheap

“Realistically, I thought I might play overseas,” Robinson said. He would happily get abused in the G League.

The Heat had an off day in New York last season on a night their G League team played in Westchester, New York. A group of Heat coaches attended. Robinson played well, but did not chase one loose ball with enough gusto for the Heat contingent. “I knew that would be the one thing they’d notice,” Robinson said.1

When the Heat called Robinson up, they introduced a loose ball drill to his practice regimen. A coach would roll the ball, and demand Robinson dive for it, tip it to another coach, and sprint to the corner for a catch-and-shoot jumper. Robinson got good at cushioning falls. “It’s a skill,” he said. “Don’t fall on your hip.”

He never found a consistent role, and the Bulls in McDermott’s third season traded him to Oklahoma City. McDermott enjoyed playing with Russell Westbrook. He tasted the playoffs.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

But when Carmelo Anthony trade rumors kicked up — “I saw that first Woj bomb, and was like, ‘F—,'” McDermott said — he had a feeling he might go to New York. He joked about it with Thunder teammates at dinner the night before the trade. They told him not to worry.

McDermott was driving to tailgate at an Oklahoma State football game the next day when his phone rang. It was Sam Presti, the Thunder GM. McDermott had been right.

Four months later, on the day of the 2018 trade deadline, McDermott took a nap in his hotel room in Toronto — where the Knicks were playing that night. He was hoping to wake up after the deadline as a Knick. Five minutes into the nap, his phone buzzed. It was his agent. McDermott was going to Dallas.

“I was scared,” McDermott said. “I knew it could be my last chance. My confidence was pretty low.”

Rick Carlisle sensed that. In their first meeting, he told McDermott to “play loose, play free” — to launch at will. McDermott by then had gotten used to running around screens for 3s. He had not played that style at Creighton, even though executives compared him to Creighton’s other famous gunslinger — Kyle Korver. College McDermott was a one-on-one scorer, a role he was not athletic enough to play in the NBA.