A lot of people are blaming Yi for CDR’s lack of production the past couple games. The rest seem to be blaming Kiki Vandeweghe (oh excuse me, Yi-Ki. Right? Right??? sigh…) for his philosophy of running the offense through the big men. Now these two factors probably have had an effect on the number of shots CDR takes, but the dip should have been a small one, not what has been happening (he hasn’t taken over 10 shot attempts since the Spurs’ game early in the month). So what is it? Well, what I have been seeing is a lack of aggression on CDR’s part. The same opportunities he has had in the beginning of the year are there, but he just isn’t taking advantage of them. What do I mean? Well, take a look at this picture:
On this play, CDR comes off a screen set by Yi, and is looking to do two different things. The yellow arrow is what the CDR from the first 30 games would do. He would test the defense with attack dribble and more than likely find a crease. Exposing this crease would let him get to the lane for the lay-up or the foul. The green dashes show the CDR of the past couple games. He takes a wasted dribble (a dribble that doesn’t advance him and makes the pass). Keyon Dooling actually gets a decent look, but the Nets aren’t a good shooting team, I would much rather see CDR attack the basket than see the Nets settle for the 3. It isn’t just this one player either, it is starting to become a theme. One more image, and to me, this one really shows the lack of aggression:
As the pass to CDR gets made, his defender tries to steal it and misses. This leaves the lane wide open, to the point where every single defender on the court has their back to the basket. Now, in fairness to CDR, their is a play called for Courtney Lee here in which Lee cuts through the paint, but when a defender cheats like this and misses, you need to punish him (the CDR of the first couple games would attack the basket). Courtney has the awareness to break-off his cut if he sees CDR driving. All CDR has to do here is rip the ball through, and he has a lane to the basket. He doesn’t do that, instead, he stays where he is, holding the ball for a few seconds:
Now I think this play is a good indicator of what is wrong with CDR’s game right now. Kiki has in fact emphasized working the ball in the post (and that is a good thing) but it seems like CDR is sticking to Kiki’s teaching to a fault. It is to the point where he solely looks to run the play as drawn up, so even where opportunities presents itself to deviate and attack the basket he doesn’t do it. Now, this is where Kiki needs to come in if this is in fact the problem. Kiki needs to explain that yes, he wants to run certain sets, but if he can be aggressive, he needs to be.
So what does the CDR of old look like? Well, in the Golden State game, we got a glimpse of it early. He was aggressive and assertive, scoring 8 points in the first quarter.
In the clip, every time CDR caught the ball he was looking to score, and as the only wing option that was a proven scorer (up until this little bump in the road), and as such, he needs to be doing that every time he catches the ball. Not just for a couple minute stretch or one quarter.
The final thing I want to talk about is the whole notion of the offense or whatever conspiracy there is to limit CDR’s shots. I think this is just plain nonsense. The numbers seem to backup my point as well. I already told you about how CDR has only taken 31 shots in the past 6 games. I know that is a low number, but look at the other Nets’ wing Courtney Lee. Lee has gotten 46 shots up during that stretch. This is because he has been aggressive attack the basket every chance he gets. If CDR can develop the same attitude as Courtney Lee, you will see an uptick in his numbers, and that could eventually lead to more wins for the Nets.