Duncan Robinson’s story shows how much of an impact a coach makes in a player’s life and career.
Erik Spoelstra is one person who Duncan Robinson would be eternally grateful to. The 26-year-old sharpshooter that we see before us today was not always this way.
Duncan’s story is full of struggles, and how he never gave up on his will to play basketball. Robinson did not start on his High School till he was in his junior year, and he had only one college offer upon Graduation, from a Divison III college named Williams college. A year into college, Duncan managed to secure a spot in the Michigan Wolverines program.
After 3 years with Michigan, Robinson went undrafted in the 2018 NBA draft. He had a couple of workouts held for him pre-draft and Heat scout says Robinson caught his eye and immediately called up head coach Erik and said he’d just witnessed one of the best shooting performances he’d ever seen. “Chet was so insistent on it, I just took his word for it,” Spoelstra said.
Erik and Robinson had a conversation before the 2018 draft, wherein Robinson was promised a spot in the Heat summer league team, provided he went undrafted.
He ended up going undrafted and had offers from both the summer league teams of Miami and the Lakers. Robinson chose Miami for its player development programs and coach Spoelstra.
Spoelstra met Robinson in September 2019 with a proposition to play full time for the Heat, keeping his 2 G league games with 10 made 3s, a successful summer league, and 48% shooting from 3s and overall 51% field from the floor.
Coach Spoelstra believed that Robinson could be the perfect player to team up with their newly acquired superstar Jimmy Butler. Robinson could provide some much-needed floor spacing with his excellent shooting from beyond the arc.
“Robinson was struggling with confidence,” says head coach Erik Spoelstra
In his September meeting with Robinson, coach Spoelstra discussed with Duncan how many incredible things he had already done as a shooter. Duncan nodded politely but still did not look convinced enough. Coach knew he had a sharpshooter, but Duncan can’t perform till the clutter from his brain is clear and he gains some confidence.
That is when Robinson brought up imposter syndrome, something Spoelstra was very familiar with himself. When he was appointed as the head coach for the Heat, he had superstars LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh on his team, and he had little to no experience as a player in the league himself. He constantly doubted himself and was worried that one small mistake could mean him losing his job.
The story of his coach made Robinson feel a little better, and the confidence of his coach really did help. To overcome what was in his head, it would need some tough love.
One day coach sat down with Robinson and showed how much it hurt the Heat when Robinson passed up shots. Whenever Robinson did not shoot, it hurt the offense as then the other 4 were guarded more heavily. All the tough love got to Robinson and his hard work and work ethic got him to the player we see today.
Duncan Robinson wasn’t even a good high school player. Now he’s one of the best 3-point shooters in the league. Here’s how he went from Division III to the NBA, and how Heat coach Erik Spoelstra helped him believe he belonged. https://t.co/0hFfc77Cbg
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) September 2, 2020
Duncan Robinson, a superstar in the making
Robinson had a wonderful season, shooting 44.6% from the 3pt line and making 270 3s for the season. When it comes to 3 point shooting, that is essentially what he is in the team for and he makes sure that 80%+ of his shots are from behind the arc.
It’s not only the shooting but the efficiency by the 6’7″ showed. He broke countless Heat records for shooting and is well on his way to the top spot on 3s made by a Heat player. Duncan, in just 2nd year of his NBA career has a lot of basketball ahead of him and we expect great thing from him.