Who has it worse this Saturday afternoon, ABC viewers, faced with the prospect of The Owner With A Boner competing on “Dancing With The Stars”, or Knicks fans, having to absorb G Nate Robinson’s insisting of “I couldn™t see myself on another team”? Dozens of NBA GM’s feel the same, N8. From Newsday’s Alan Hahn.

On being the next starting PG of the Knicks, once Marbury does his Italian Beckham thing: œI just want to play. Period. Regardless if I™m going to be out there playing point guard or the two . . . Whoever™s out there, I just want to play. I want to be part of the team that is going to make the playoffs and send New York on a wonderful ride.

On hearing his name come up in trade rumors: œI couldn™t imagine seeing me in another uniform. I love the Knicks. I love the colors, they™re my high school colors “ orange and blue “ I don™t know what else to say.”

On how a long offseason feels: œWhen you go home early, you have too much time on your hands. Watching all these teams playing, you think ˜We should be playing right now.™ It hurts inside knowing that our team, on paper, is ridiculous.

You know the class-clown is still there inside him, probably always will be. And he’s good at running his game with the media. He knows what answers you are looking for. He plays the role. But if some of the things we talked about, things he’s doing this offseason, are all legit, then Nate might have finally started growing up.

Might. Not having Steve Francis around will help things. Francis was known to mock the role as a bench player and get Nate to lose his focus on the bench, which always seemed to land him in Isiah’s doghouse.

“So you still shooting those half-court shots?”

“Always,” he said without hesitation.

“C’mon, why?”

“I end my workouts that way,” he said. “Gotta leave on a make. You can’t walk off the court with a miss.”