New Orleans Pelicans: Gauging J.J. Redick’s potential impact

Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images /

The New Orleans Pelicans’ acquisition of J.J. Redick should be a fruitful relationship for both parties. Redick’s perimeter shooting and veteran leadership will be two factors this young core cannot have enough of.

On Sunday evening, ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that J.J. Redick had agreed to sign a two-year, $26.5 million contract with the New Orleans Pelicans. Redick joins the Pelicans after having spent his last two seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Pelicans’ starting lineup at this moment would appear to be some combination of Lonzo Ball, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson and either Jaxson Hayes or Derrick Favors, with Redick and Josh Hart leading the second unit.  Whichever combination of players head coach Alvin Gentry decides to deploy, one thing is certain: Redick will quickly prove to be an asset this season.

After the Pelicans acquired Ball, Ingram and Hart from the Los Angeles Lakers in the Anthony Davis trade, it was apparent that 3-point shooting would be an immediate need. The aforementioned trio has combined to shoot just 33.5 percent from beyond the arc, well below the league-average of 35.5 percent. The rest of the Pelicans did not fare much better during the 2018-19 season, shooting just 34.4 percent from deep — good for 24th in the league.

Redick will immediately move the needle in a positive direction for the Pelicans, as over the course of his 13-year career his 3-point percentage has been an astonishing 41.3 percent. New Orleans finds itself in a unique situation. While many thought the Pels would be picking up the pieces of Davis’s unceremonious departure for years to come, they are now arguably in a better spot than they were at any point during Davis’ tenure.

The roster consists of a strong playmaking point guard (Ball), a savvy, defensive-minded two-way shooting guard (Holiday), a young small forward overflowing with potential (Ingram), the most hyped rookie since LeBron James (Williamson), plenty of quality talent coming off the bench, and now you add not only Redick’s shooting but his leadership as well? All of a sudden, the Pelicans turn from a potential lottery team for years to come to an immediate playoff threat with a long-term ceiling that is incalculable.

A team can never have too many quality 3-point shooters, but something even harder to find is a humble veteran leader. In Redick’s 13-year career, he has been to the playoffs approximately 13 times. He simply would not go to a team where he felt like that streak would be put in jeopardy.

In four of his last five seasons, Redick has contributed 5.9 or more win shares despite being on two different teams during that stretch, and experiencing extreme roster turnover. Redick’s biggest knock throughout his career has been his defense, which is supported when you look at his Defensive Box Plus-Minus. He has never posted a positive Plus-Minus on the less glamorous end, but has contributed a positive Offensive Box Plus-Minus in every season but one.

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Redick’s career Box Plus-Minus is 0.0. This essentially just means that when he is on the court, he is not likely to bring his team back from a big deficit, nor is he going to blow a lead of his own. In a word, you could describe him as “steady.” With a young, exciting and potentially volatile team like the New Orleans Pelicans, who will undoubtedly be searching for an identity the next few years, “steady” will be just what they need.