BOSTON -- Just playing at TD Garden would have been a fitting end to Duncan Robinson's story.

The Miami Heat forward was born in York, Maine, and grew up in New Castle, N.H. (Population: 979.) He was one of four children -- yes, four -- to graduate 6th grade at his local elementary school.

He accepted a (non-scholarship) offer to play at Williams College, a tiny Division III school in Western Massachusetts with exactly zero NBA alumni.

Robinson wasn't expected to change that.

Then Williams' head coach, Mike Maker, left after Robinson's freshman year, and as a favor put in him touch with then-Michigan head coach John Beilein, who had employed Maker as an assistant at West Virginia.

Beilein was impressed with Robinson's silky shooting stroke, and by 2015, the gangly New Englander was playing in front of 13,751 fans at a Big 10 powerhouse.

Robinson went undrafted out of Michigan in 2018 but latched on with Miami's Summer League team, earning a two-way contract with the Heat in July.

The Heat began the 2018-19 season with four injured players, and on Oct. 24, Robinson got the call-up, becoming the second Maine native ever to play in an NBA game.

End of story, right?

Not quite. Turns out Robinson is one of the best pure shooters in the NBA.


Just ask Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens:

"He's always been a ridiculously elite shooter. ... All the time, you have to be aware of him."


Or Heat forward Justise Winslow, who's been played with the likes of Joe Johnson, Goran Dragic and Jimmy Butler and insists none can shoot like Robinson:

"I’ve just never seen somebody with as pure of a shot as his, to be honest. ... He's probably the best shooter I've ever played with."

Or Mike Crotty, Robinson's former AAU coach with the Middlesex Magic, who's worked with Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton and says the same thing:

"His shot should be in the dictionary. It’s that pretty."

So, those who know Robinson maybe aren't as surprised he's now an every-night starter for the Heat, averaging 11.2 points per game while making 2.9 3-pointers per contest, tied for 13th in the NBA as of Wednesday.

"I feel like I'm capable of playing at this level," Robinson told NBC Sports Boston before Wednesday's game. "I’ve always believed that. Sometimes it just takes getting an opportunity."

Robinson's opportunity is unique: He's believed to be the first Division III transfer to earn a Division I scholarship and is the first Division III player to reach the NBA since Devean George in 1999.

But the 25-year-old isn't just some answer to a trivia question. 

After scoring 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting in Wednesday's loss to the Celtics -- his fifth consecutive game with 10 points or more -- Robinson is on his way to becoming a household name in Miami.

"You’ve got to get to the point where you know you belong in the league," Winslow added of Robinson. "We saw glimpses of it last year. But this year, his confidence is on a whole different level."

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nuggets, which tips off Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.