Alright, so yesterday, Chris Douglas-Roberts has informed the twitter world that he is coming off the bench tonight. Before we get to the nitty-gritty, I think it is fairly obvious that Kiki had to make a switch when it comes to the rotation. I did a post on this a little while back, but it became evident that a change was needed when the Nets beat the Clippers without their 2-starting guards and with CDR and Yi playing limited minutes. As I mentioned, the only two rational candidates for a movement to the bench are CDR and Yi (I don’t count Courtney in this group because I value the defense/aggressiveness that he brings to the starting lineup). The combination of Yi playing better, Kris Humphries returning back to earth, and Jarvis Hayes/Terrence Williams playing really well right now made CDR the obvious choice for the guy to go to the bench.
So Who Will Replace Him?
In CDR’s tweet, he only mentions that he will be moving to the bench. He doesn’t give us any info on who is replacing him. His replacement comes down to two players that are playing very well right now, Jarvis Hayes and Terrence Williams. In my opinion, I think the smarter choice here is to go with Jarvis Hayes. There is two reasons why I decided on Jarvis, the first being that you don’t want to disrupt Terrence and get him doing things he is not used to doing. He is still a rookie, and right now he has a get to the rim mentality that is really working for him. If he starts, I could see him starting to force things. Remember, that is exactly what happened when the Nets gave him minutes early in the year.
The second reason is that Jarvis Hayes is playing really well right now, and you need to take advantage of it. I have always been a fan of Jarvis Hayes, so this might be biased, but I think he has one of the better strokes in the NBA when things are going right for him. Jarvis Hayes is definitely the Nets best shooter, and that shooting threat forces defenses to respect Hayes, and that will open up things for everyone else. I know what some of you are thinking, “CDR was scoring plenty early in the year.” You guys are correct, but CDR is a scorer (a really good one), but he isn’t a shooter. He isn’t a guy you look at when he is standing on the perimeter and think “oh hey, we need to close out on him hard when he makes the catch.”
What Does This Mean For CDR?
If CDR embraces his role with the second unit, I think this can be a really good move for him and the Nets. This has been my opinion since the begging of the season. I just think that CDR has the skill-set to be a top guy off the bench. I also think the way the roster has turned out works for him too.
The Lone Scorer
When CDR enters with the second unit, he will be playing with the likes of Keyon Dooling (when Devin returns), Terrence Williams, and Kris Humphries. CDR is the only “pure scorer” out of this group, and he will be able to have the ball in his hands a lot more (which was something that happened early in the season with the injuries, leading to CDR’s success). There will not only be more touches available for him, but they will be meaningful touches. Touches where CDR is going to be given the ball with room and opportunity to attack the basket with the determination he was using early in the year. Rather than the touches he has been getting in the starting lineup (touches where he ends up throwing it into the post, reversing the ball, or pulling it out).
The Players Around Him
Instead of playing with guys like Yi, Devin, and Brook (guys who all need the ball in their hands), CDR will be playing with Keyon Dooling, a pass first point guard who likes to attack and kick the ball out to the wing. He is also going to be playing with a drive-happy Terrence Williams. Terrence Williams has been attacking the basket so aggressively, that he forces help to come, and when that help comes, he kicks the ball out. This kick out forces rotation, and that leaves huge lanes for attacking the basket.
I know that CDR, his supporters, and most Nets fans are going to see this move to the bench as a demotion. I can honestly say that I don’t think that is what this is. I think this is Kiki trying to get the most out of his lineup, in particular, Chris Douglas-Roberts. Most successful teams don’t start their 5 best players (Rockets/Landry, Hawks/Crawford, and Spurs/Ginobili all come to mind), and the guys they bring off the bench are usually really good scorers (which CDR is). I can see CDR as a 6th man really taking off, and if he plays well off the bench, I can see the Nets using this new depth chart to squeeze out a few more wins.