Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
One of the major storylines in a rather uneventful off-season (aside from the Chris Paul rumors) for the Orlando Magic was when general manager Otis Smith elected to match the Chicago Bulls’ offer sheet and re-sign J.J. Redick to a three year, $20 million contract. Not too long ago, Redick was seen as a bust after being selected No. 11 in the 2006 NBA Draft and struggling to crack head coach Stan Van Gundy‘s rotation for nearly two seasons. But after hard work and perseverance, Redick has developed a niche with the Magic.
An efficient shooter.
There’s no question that Redick had a breakout season with Orlando, but it seems like some people are overlooking how efficient he was offensively. Redick was one of the most efficient players on offense in the NBA last year. Yes, there are those that are aware that Redick posted career-high numbers across the board. Yet it seems like there are those that are missing the grand scheme of things when it comes to what Redick was able to accomplish with a defined role and consistent minutes. Though it needs to be stated that Redick earned his playing time.
Efficiency is the name of the game in basketball and there weren’t many players in the league that were as efficient as Redick on offense in 2010.
Let’s start with True Shooting Percentage.
|2009-2010 regular season||True Shooting Percentage|
It’s not uncommon to see big men litter the leaderboard in this metric (likewise with effective field-goal percentage) because they are inherently going to have high field-goal percentages.
However, despite being a perimeter-oriented player, Redick’s True Shooting Percentage was among the leaders. A quick glance and it doesn’t take too long to notice that Redick is sandwiched between two of the top five players in the NBA — Kevin Durant and LeBron James. This is not to suggest that Redick is as good as Durant or James offensively. Things always have to be examined in their proper context. The point is that Redick was as efficient as these players on offense. That’s it. It’s more impressive that Durant and James had high percentages because of the amount of possessions they used up, but that’s going off on a separate tangent.
Offensive Rating tells a similar story.
|2009-2010 regular season||Offensive Rating|
Redick’s Offensive Rating ranked second in the league behind Nene Hilario. Again, this is not to suggest that Redick is as good as Chris Paul or some of the other players that are listed. ORtg simply confirms that Redick was one of the most efficient players offensively in the NBA last season. To make sense of the numbers, Redick scored 1.23 points per possession (league average was 1.08 points per possession). Not bad at all. This had a lot to do with the fact that Redick shot very well from the three-point line and free-throw line, while taking great care of the ball. Because threes and free-throws are two of the most efficient shots in basketball, Redick is optimizing his output on offense and not wasting many possessions in the process.
That is efficiency, folks.
Some of Redick’s stats may regress to the mean next year, but there’s no doubt that he’s developed a reputation as a medium-usage, high-efficiency role player offensively. And this is why Smith drafted him, because this is what he thought Redick was capable of as long as he could properly transition himself to the professional ranks. It took Redick three seasons to really get his feet under himself but now that he has, he’s the type of efficient shooter that complements Howard on offense in the Magic’s 4-out/1-in scheme.
Sure, it’s easy for Redick to knock down shots thanks to the multitude of open looks he gets but he’s no Damon Jones. Redick is more than that.
Redick has become an underrated playmaker, doing the little things that allows him to stay on the floor and make a positive impact. Redick is able to create off the dribble, on occasion, as well as execute a pick and roll. Not only that but something as simple as making an excellent entry pass to Howard on the low block is what makes Redick an asset. These are some of the things that Redick wasn’t able to do when he first entered the league, but he’s been able to develop those tools and be regarded as much more than just a spot-up shooter.
Anyone that says otherwise doesn’t know what they’re talking about, to be frank.