Nate Drexler: The clock is ticking on J.J. Redick
At one point, it was pretty difficult, almost impossible, to imagine the Magic running
out of the tunnel without Dwight Howard. Now, just months after his departure, things
have normalized, at least in a sense, in Orlando.
While the few veterans left on the roster continue to chip away at what was supposed
to be an agonizing season, players like Andrew Nicholson, Nikola Vucevic, and Maurice
Harkless have become familiar, if not by now household names.
Maybe now, while we still have our wits in tact, we should get used to the idea that J.J.
Redick, a man who has never in his professional career worn a jersey that didn’t say
“Magic” on it, might not be in Orlando for much longer.
Rumors have been reported, pundits have predicted, promulgated, and all but
publicized the fact that J.J. Redick is probably the highest-valued trade asset on the
Magic’s roster, and is in all likelihood squarely in the crosshairs of several contenders.
And why wouldn’t he be? For years, Redick has been referred to as a cerebral player
a high IQ guy, a smart defender, and obviously a great shooter. Now he’s enhanced his
and shown his ability to confidently get to the paint.
Put differently, Redick has expanded his skill-set, increased his production, and now
you’ll need more than two hands to count the number of teams that would salivate at
the prospect of having him come off their bench.
Despite platooning in and out of a starter role over the years, Redick excels off the
bench, making him an extremely flexible option for any coach who might wish to use
him as their sixth man. Whether he’s getting hot from deep or just running his defender
into the ground while navigating around the perimeter, the speed and diligence at which
Redick can play can be devastating, and his ability to get into the flow of his game off
the bench is invaluable.
On offense, there is absolutely no question that Redick makes his team better. This
season, when Redick is on the court, the Magic have a 104.1 Offensive Rating versus
93.9 when he is off, per NBA.com. That Orlando is 10.2 points per 100 possessions
better offensively with Redick on the floor should come as no surprise.
Similarly, Redick now finds himself above the Mendoza line, so to speak, with a career
-high 16 Player Efficiency Rating (the league average is 15), which points not only to
his growth as a player in his seventh year, but also to the fact that where more
responsibility is given, the more Redick will give back.
This season, not only is Redick averaging a career high 31.1 minutes per game, but
his usage rate is at 21.6 percent, a mark only bested by his (inflated) second season
in the NBA where he only played eight minutes per game.
Redick does not block shots and does not steal the ball often, so his defense isn’t going
to show up clearly in a box score. But he grades well on Synergy, apart from defending
spot-ups, and the eye test will show you the determination and hustle on the defensive
end. That aspect of Redick’s game is not a secret. A graduate from Stan Van Gundy’s
school of defense, Redick takes pride in his craft and it shows night in and night out.
That Redick was already considered...CONTINUE READING AT MAGIC BASKETBALL