The Nets line-up is basically all set. You got Devin at the point, Hayes at the SF spot (hopefully this is just temporary until T-Will gains his bearings), Yi at the 4, and Brook at the center spot. That leaves one position up in the air…yup, you guessed it, the SG spot. It seems that the two players battling for this spot are CDR and Courtney Lee. Whoever wins this “competition” will be starting, and whoever doesn’t will most likely be the 6th man. One thing is for sure, these two guys are really battling it out:
“It’s nasty,” Harris said. “Just nasty. From watching, two guys I can point out are Courtney and CDR. That’s going to be a battle all year long. Those guys are really competitive, they do a lot of different things on the court. Obviously, Terrence (Williams) has got a bit of a bulldog in him, too, but that matchup right there … you can see it from playing in pickup. It’s just going to be nasty. That’s good for the competition and guys pushing each other.”
I know that CDR is the fan favorite here (I love him too! Don’t get it twisted), and I might catch a lot of stuff for this, but I really think that he should be coming off of the bench this year.
Just Handing It Over?
A big thing that you have been hearing the past couple weeks (especially with Lee having foot issues), is that if Courtney gets the job, the Nets staff will be handing over the job to him. That is such a joke in my opinion. Courtney “earned his job” by playing fantastic during the playoffs and being a starter on a team that made the NBA finals last year. If anything, CDR would be getting the starting job “handed over to him.” CDR has never proven himself when getting extended minutes during the regular season. I know…I know…he has never been given the opportunity, but clamoring about handing the starting job over to Courtney need to put things into perspective. Courtney Lee has proven a lot more in the NBA than CDR at this point.
Poise Under Pressure
I have said it a couple times in the past, but the poise that Courtney Lee played with last year really impressed me. There were times that I would watch him last year, and I would forget he was a rookie. He was taking (and making big shots) and defending the opposing teams best player. You normally don’t see rookies do that.
On the other hand, CDR still looks a little uneasy on the court and you saw that in the first preseason game. For the record, I am not talking about CDR’s herky-jerky style, I am talking about how timid he looks in the beginning of games (only 4 of 21 points scored in the first quarter last Sunday). I think it is because when he starts, he isn’t just in “score” mode, like he is when he comes off the bench. It takes him a little while to get into the flow of the game. Don’t get me wrong, once he does, he is a scoring machine, but it takes a while to get him going.
There is no question about who is the better defender out of these two (C.Lee hands down), but the big question is should you start defense over offense. I say yes. I have always believed that if there is no real drop on the offensive end (sorry Trenton), you should put your best defenders out there to start the game…especially at the SF spot. Let’s say the Nets are playing the Cavs. If Courtney Lee can get all up in LeBron, make him work, and keep him from scoring that is an advantage for the Nets. Maybe LeBron gets tired because of this and he needs to come out a little sooner. Maybe the Nets can end the quarter with the lead because of Courtney Lee’s tough defense and then when CDR gets out there (going against the second stringers), he can help the Nets extend the lead?
Who’s The Better 6th Man?
This is a question that doesn’t get asked a lot, but it is an important one. I honestly think that CDR is the better 6th man out of the group, mainly because of his ability to score in bunches. Plus when he is the 6th man playing with the second unit, he is going to be the go-to scorer (think about it – Alston/T-Will/CDR/Battie/Boone) and because of that we avoid one of the issues we talked about earlier (CDR thinking too much) and that makes CDR a better player. I can honestly say that if CDR starts the season as the 6th man, he is a top 5 candidate for 6th man of the year.
Will CDR Embrace The Role
We don’t know for sure because it hasn’t happened yet, but there hasn’t been any indication (especially with how professionally he handled the whole playing time situation last year) that it would be a problem. As the 6th man position becomes less of a stigma and more of a embraced role (guys like Manu and Jason Terry), I don’t expect stuff like this will be an issue anymore. If CDR gets his minutes (I believe he will) it shouldn’t matter to him where they are coming from.