Shooters come at a dime a dozen these days, but J.J. Redick is a different type of shooter. His uniqueness in this department has suitors lined up, well not literally, but there’s a decent amount of interest in the guard and the Orlando Magic have a decision to make.
On one hand, Redick is scheduled to become a free agent at season’s end. Just with that in mind, the Magic would be crazy not to deal him. They could get a draft pick in return and perhaps some added bonuses if they flaunt their leverage.
On the other hand, Redick wants to stay in Orlando, and who would blame him? He’s finally becoming one of the NBA’s premier sharp-shooters, who’s also a terrific off-the-ball player. So yes, he can technically test the open waters, but if he’s not just blowing smoke with his comments about wanting to stay in central Florida, then there’s a good chance that he’d give the Magic first crack at resigning him.
That’s the problem, though. The Magic don’t have much expendable money. They’re less than $6 million under the luxury tax this season and as it stands, they’ll enter next season with a payroll of about $53 million, as Basketball Reference projects. That would put them roughly $17 million under the luxury tax.
So, the Magic don’t have much room to offer a hefty contract to Redick, who one scribe opines will get in the four-year, $36 million range on the open market. Going by those specifics, he would haul in $9 million annually and if Orlando took on that type of contract, they’d be inching closer to the daunting luxury tax. I doubt that’s territory management wants to be even remotely close to.
Money aside, though. What makes Redick’s skill set one that’s drawing considerable interest?
Well, there’s the obvious. He can shoot the lights out of the gym. I wouldn’t deem him a carbon copy of Ray Allen in his prime, but in his seventh year in the league he’s shooting 39.9 percent from 3-point land, which is actually better than Allen’s 37.7 percent in his seventh season in the league.
To boot, Redick’s true shooting percentage (59.7 percent), and adjusted field goal percentage (55.7) are both superior to Allen’s marks. Of course, we’re specifically talking about Allen’s seventh season in the NBA compared to Redick’s seventh season. From the broader view, Allen’s credentials are undoubtedly much more prestigious.
But Redick and Allen share a number of similarities. More specifically, Redick has evolved into a proficient off-the-ball player, being able to use screens, cuts and designed schemes to score points without altering the flow of Orlando’s offense.
The stats are quite impressive, too. Redick is the 12th-best spot-up shooter in the NBA, scoring 1.29 points per possession (PPP). Spot-up shooting is still his niche, but his ability to come off screens (31st in the NBA), handoffs (23rd) and execute effective cuts (23rd) all collectively add to his trade value.
The fact that he can utilize screens suits him to fit in a variety of different offenses. Not only will this net the Magic a more appealing sum if they decide to trade Redick, but it will also help Redick, himself, as he forays into the free agency this summer.
Redick isn’t much of an isolation threat, which shouldn’t surprise even the casual observer. He’s a shooter. And shooters are different from scorers. They usually take a lower volume of shots and can’t create shots for themselves. This basically sums up Redick’s flaws in a nutshell.
Defensively, Redick has improved. He’s not a liability and in fact, the sharp-shooter is far from that platform. He yields just a 14.3 player efficiency rating (PER) to opposing shooting guards. Considering that the average is 15, Redick’s done a fine job of containing his opponents.
Obviously, PER doesn’t give us the full scouting report on Redick. While his opponents’ PER suggest that he’s been a solid overall defender, he needs to work on recovering. By recovering, I mean not leaving shooters wide open. Redick ranks 218th in the NBA in guarding spot-up situations, which he defends over 31 percent of his time on defense.
Ideally, a more intimating frontcourt could improve Redick’s spot-up defense. The Magic don’t have that uber-shot-blocker that Dwight Howard was and their opponents’ points in the paint per game total of 43.9–which puts Orlando’s ranking just 25th in NBA–reassures any doubters.
Naturally, Redick feels the burden to slide over and prevent interior points, thus leading to wide-open shots. Good point guards capitalize on easy drive-and-kick opportunities, whereas more inexperienced guards are a bit slower to recognize the hole.
With a bigger force inside, Redick could stay home and keep spot-up shooters at bay.
The Grand Conclusion
For several teams, Redick could be the final piece to the puzzle. His perimeter shooting opens up seams in opposing defenses and ultimately spaces out the floor. This type of reaction is often hard to generate because consistency is key.
However, Redick isn’t for everyone. He wouldn’t thrive in a system where he’s forced to handle the ball more than not, nor would he excel in a capacity where he’s forced to work in the post. Teams that need help in those two areas know who they are and realize that Redick isn’t the solution.
In a perfect world, Redick would continue to do what he’s doing in Orlando, but with an elite point guard, such as Derrick Rose. I mention Rose because the Chicago Bulls have rumored interestin Redick, and he’d be a perfect drive-and-kick partner for the explosive Rose; that is if Rose’s repaired ACL doesn’t hinder his driving game too much.
If in the right system, Redick would continue to develop. There’s no doubt about that. Will Orlando put his comments on the back-burner and dangle him? Well, that’s up to them. But as you can see, he brings a valuable skill set to the table.
Stats courtesy of ESPN.COM, NBA.COM, 82games.COM and Synergy Sports
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