Listen, we are all behind you. We all trust you. Because when you trust yourself you play beautiful basketball and make everyone and the team better. The problem is, you don't trust yourself right now.
Your minutes are down from an average of 34.2 minutes/game last year to 22.7 minutes/game this year. Given that, if you look at your numbers below, they are strikingly similar to the numbers you put up last year.
Per Game Per Minute Per Game Per Minute
Assists 8.2 .23 5.1 .22
Turnovers 3.2 .09 2.6 .11
Steals 2.2 .06 1.4 .06
Rebounds 4.2 .12 2.0 .08
Points 10.6 .31 4.2 .18
Except for your scoring. Your scoring per game and per minute is way down this year because your FG% is down. Last year you shot .357% from the field. That has dropped to .231% this year. Your 3-pt% is down from .231% last year to .000% this year.
Given your low minutes and the consistency of all your other numbers, your problem isn't the same as Kevin Love's was when he returned from a hand injury. Love was out of shape, lethargic and generally slow when during his brief return. He talked over and over again about how he needed to work his way back into game shape. Unfortunately he went down with another hand injury before that happened.
To your credit you came back and we immediately saw your energy and spark. You've flashed your brilliance on occasion. However, we've also seen something new and troubling in your return. You look frustrated and unsure any time you shoot or should shoot. I hate to do this but you have to watch this shot again Ricky.
Professional NBA players don't air ball wide open layups. Yes, you could have jumped higher. Maybe dunked it. Doesn't matter. What matters is that you looked scared to shoot it, short armed the shot and missed everything from mere inches away. That has nothing to do with your reconstructed knee and everything to do with your head.
No one expects you to shoot lights out. No one expects you to lead the team in scoring, that's not your game. A summer of shooting repetition will do you wonders. You can learn to speed up your shot, get a little more arc on it and learn to catch and shoot without having to load first.
But for now, for the rest of this year, if you are sick of losing, sick of not playing up to your expectations, sick of getting benched for players with more scoring propensity like J.J. Barea, then you have to play more like this:
We don't expect you to have a career year like Adrian Peterson. He is a freak of nature and played better in his return from an ACL injury than anyone ever has. But you can take a page from his book and play aggressive. You have medical clearance. Now trust yourself. When the shot is there shoot it. Shoot it like you want to shoot it, like you love to shoot it, like you love to play. Play like Ricky and great things will happen again for you and the team.