For J.J. Redick, It's All About Efficiency | Magic Basketball



Aug 16

For J.J. Redick, It’s All About Efficiency


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.

The niche?

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
Nene Hilario .630
Dwight Howard .630
Marc Gasol .617
Steve Nash .615
Amare Stoudemire .615
Corey Maggette .615
Kendrick Perkins .613
Paul Pierce .613
Andrew Bynum .609
Kevin Durant .607
J.J. Redick .606
LeBron James .604

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
Nene Hilario 124.3
J.J. Redick 123.2
Chris Paul 121.9
Al Horford 121.4
Marc Gasol 121.3
LeBron James 120.9
Steve Nash 120.8
Pau Gasol 120.3
Chauncey Billups 120.0
Channing Frye 119.6
Jose Calderon 118.5
Manu Ginobili 118.1

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.

Marty Flippin
Marty Flippin

I've followed JJ's development from HS, Duke to the present. JJ works hard and intelligently, on both ends of the floor. Good things happen when he is in the game. He is a winner and will continue to grow in all areas of the game and in his persona.


@ Mag, I think that is recorded in the fact he was the Magic's highest scorer in the 4th quarter...a stat I heard quoted a few times, to JJ's surprise in fact. He just thinks of it as getting the job done, as he's always done whether it was back in the day in his role as the go-to man or in his role as facilitator for the Magic now.

Mag Slay the Vag
Mag Slay the Vag

I think perhaps my favorite thing, and the intangible, about Redick is his usage in the clutch. I can't count the times that SVG pulled Carter from a crummy late performance and put JJ in as the finisher, and he rose to the occasion. Often digging us out of sizeable holes, nearly single-handedly. CLUTCH: that is the unrecordable factor JJ embodies. Put him in on momentum swings, or when you need one, and BAM! Another W.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera


Yeah, you're right. Redick is more medium-usage.

Redick's usage rate was right at league average, which isn't low.


Calling JJ a low usage player might even be selling him short. He's a career 18% guy and does not defer in the playoffs. Bruce Bowen, Birdman Andersen, Steve Kerr - those are low usage players. 18% is doing his share; 20% is obviously replacement level and where Ray Allen has been since moving to Boston.

Nene is another baller who has a 'reputation' for being a low-usage or low-volume player. However like JJ he's both efficient and relatively high usage for playing near a star at 18%.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera



Pietrus is definitely the Magic's best defender on the wings.

I don't think it's outlandish to suggest that Redick, at least in 2010, produced like a poor man's Ray Allen. Their numbers are similar.


First off, another awesome article from Eddy. The bar is definitely set by you!

The sad thing about this is that the typical fan (ie. 99% of the Orlando Sentinel commenters) is going to read this, dismiss it, and then say "meh, Smith sucks because he paid 20 mil for a guy that can only shoot 3's and can't play defense." When reality is, he's the Magic's best facilitator at shooting guard, the best at throwing the ball to the low post (which is so ridiculously under-rated), maybe our best team defender on the perimeter (Peaches might beat him here because he's a great on-ball and team defender), and as pointed out, our most efficient player.

If JJ were 2-3 inches taller and had more explosive athleticism he'd be a top 20 player in the league (actually, he'd be Ray Allen v.2). The only thing he doesn't have to make him a complete talent at SG is the ability to be a finisher/get his own shot when called upon.

This article reminds me of the Rashard Lewis write up at the end of the season, which pretty much showed that he's an above average defender at the PF and a great fit for this team at the 4. Yet you can find no end to the talk from fans about Shard at the 4 is the reason we won't win a championship...sigh.