Player Profile: Jason Cadee
Jason Cadee is entering that phase of his career where he needs to move from "potential star" to just straight out star. When he was signed by Adelaide last year, a few people (me included) expected him to be thrown the ball and given the chance to run the team. Then Adelaide signed Adam Gibson and that all changed. While getting Gibson was a huge coup for the club, it certainly meant Cadee's role would be altered. In the end, Cadee was forced to largely play two guard and to play a very different role than he'd been used to in his early career. As I've said about 1000 times, he's a born point guard.
When Adelaide signed Gary Ervin it was clear Cadee would move to a back-up role, which many would have seen as a step backwards for his career. JC seems to have taken it in his stride though. He got 25 minutes in the Perth game but when Gibson and Frye returned, his minutes dropped to 9-19 minutes a game. After a few below-par games, he seems to have found his niche.
"The last few games I have definitely found a rhythm", Cadee said yesterday. He'd scored 7 points in the previous 2 games against Melbourne and New Zealand where he'd started to find ways to contribute more in limited minutes (such as this). Against Perth on Friday he had his best game of the year.
Cadee is a confidence player if ever there was one and if he does something good early, he normally builds on it. Have a look at this breakdown of his first half minutes Friday
4:29 Enters game
2:55 Turnover on an inbounds play (Uh oh)
2:46 Hands slapped by Ennis on the perimeter, gets two free throws as Perth are in the penalty. Hits both.
0:58 Drives past Marto and attacks the basket with Knight in pursuit (Takes on Marto and Knight!
Confidence rising...). Gets fouled, hits both free throws
0:05 Puts a spin move on Burdon and throws up a teardrop with two seconds left. It's good. He's scored
Adelaide's last 6 (here we go...)
10:00 Wright keeps him in. Nice!
8:55 Blows past Burdon again, this time throwing up a nice little right hand scoop (8 straight for Cadee)
7:58 Saves a long pass from Ervin and throws it to a cutting Gibson for 2 (assist)
7:40 Takes James Ennis to the basket, missing a tough shot (First miss but he took on Ennis!)
6:27 Gets his second assist, this time on a 3-1 break with a bounce pass to Ervin (he's running!)
4:57 Another assist, this time to DJ on a deep entry pass. Johnson gets fouled and hits both free throws
From here he missed a three and a two before being subbed out at the 0:57 mark. Finishes the first half with 8 points and 3 assists in just under 15 minutes.
The numbers were good but the manner in which he played was more impressive. Despite playing most of those minutes with Ervin and/or Gibson, Cadee carried most of the ball-handling duties. In that role he can create for Ervin or DJ and take what the offense gives. Last year he was largely resigned to being the fourth or fifth option on offense who stood around waiting for open jumpers and he wasn't shooting a great clip either. Such a waste of his natural talent. For me, the drive on Ennis highlighted how good he was feeling and when he's in that mode he can tear games apart and get the crowd on it's feet.
Despite us only being 8 games in, Cadee's shooting numbers have improved across the board. When I asked him if this is from hard work or better shot selection he replied...
"I guess it's a bit of both but probably more for me it's just me believing in myself. A big part of it was my part in the Aussie team that went to the world uni games. I took it upon myself to be a leader of the team and when it got to the 4th quarter that I would be the one to make plays and take over games if that needed to be done! So I feel like mentally it made me a stronger person which is showing in my shot"
That has showed in patches so far.
I also asked him if he's happier when he's got the ball in his hands and has license to push the tempo.
"Yes that's definitely where I'm at my best I think. Joey has been on me about being aggressive with the ball and making plays. So it's definitely what I'm looking to do more often now."
Let's hope the Perth game is the foundation upon which Jason will build a career year. He has a really important part to play by ensuring when Ervin rests the team still has a point man looking to attack the basket, push the tempo, create plays and give the opposition no rest.
I'm guessing we'll see more of the above Friday. Get down there and see it first hand.