Fact or Fiction: J.J. Redick Will Become a Starter This Season | Magic Basketball

«

»

Sep 01

Fact or Fiction: J.J. Redick Will Become a Starter This Season

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Fact or Fiction presents both sides of key issues the Orlando Magic will face in the upcoming season.

Statement
J.J. Redick will be the starting shooting guard by the beginning of the playoffs.

_______

Fact
If J.J. Redick is starting for the Orlando Magic at the shooting guard position on the eve of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, then one of three things probably occurred: Vince Carter a.) slid over to the small forward position, b.) was traded, or c.) was benched.

There are other possibilities, as well, but there’s no point getting bogged down in semantics.

It’s highly unlikely that any of those scenarios occur for the Magic but if one of them is somewhat plausible, it’s Carter switching to small forward to allow Redick to start at shooting guard (he also could be traded during the season, but it’s difficult to speculate).

In the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, head coach Stan Van Gundy did not hesitate to put Redick and Carter on the court together at the same time to improve an offense that was struggling to score points on a consistent basis. When Redick was in the game playing alongside the starters, he made a positive impact as opposed to Matt Barnes.

If Van Gundy wasn’t afraid to play Redick and Carter at the wings in high-pressure situations against the Celtics, then what’s preventing him from making a permanent change this season?

A lot of things, actually.

Fiction
On the surface, tabbing Redick as a starter seems like a good idea. Redick is no longer a liability on defense, which is what held him back from earning more playing time in the past, and he proved to be one of the most efficient players in the NBA last year. There’s no doubt, given Redick’s production in 2010, that he is a starting-caliber player. And for some people, there is a growing sentiment that Redick needs to start since he’s slated to earn more money now.

But there are some issues that crop up.

First, when looking ahead to the postseason strictly in the Eastern Conference, it’s going to be a tall order to ask Redick defend someone like Dwyane Wade. Again, Redick is not a pushover defensively but Wade is a top five player and the best shooting guard in the league. Sure, Redick has proven that he can hold his own defending Ray Allen and that’s not the issue here. However, in a matchup against the Miami Heat where Orlando’s margin for error is microscopic, asking Redick to guard Wade for extended periods of time is a problem. Again, this isn’t an indictment on Redick’s abilities on defense but it speaks more to Wade’s tremendous skill-set. Even if the Magic were somehow able to get past the Heat in a series to decide the East crown in that alignment, the odds are high that Redick would be matched up against Kobe Bryant in the NBA Finals. Yikes.

Second, Carter would be moving to small forward and that would not be very beneficial for Orlando’s defense. Carter has never proven in his career that he can defend small forwards, and there’s little evidence that would indicate he could do it at this juncture. If it’s wise to primarily construct a team around defense in hopes of maximizing the chances of winning a championship, then it would be counterproductive for the Magic to gain a small boost on offense only to have any gains nullified by a weaker unit defensively. This has been stated before but if Orlando wants to win a title, it has to be with defense. Unfortunately for the Magic, lining up Redick and Carter at the wing positions isn’t going to cut it on that end of the floor. Plus, instructing Carter to try to slow down Paul Pierce and LeBron James from scoring at will is no good.

For all his faults as a player, Carter can defend shooting guards. Small forwards, not so much.

When it comes to the current personnel on the roster, starting Redick and Carter may pan out okay in the regular season and maybe against the Celtics in the playoffs, but the pairing wouldn’t fare well versus the Heat (or the Los Angeles Lakers, for that matter).

Like it or not, Miami is the team to beat in the East and Orlando needs to max out their efforts defensively this year if they want to overtake their in-state rivals.

With all due respect to Boston, of course.

_______

There’s no problem with playing Redick and Carter in tandem with each other in spurts here and there, but that’s it. Starting Redick and Carter would make the Magic worse on defense, making the road to a title that much more difficult.

It’s already difficult as it is.

Verdict: Fiction

12 comments
Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@tha truth is…

Whatever. It's in the past.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@tha truth is…

Carter is still better than Redick, despite his flaws.

tha truth is...
tha truth is...

Of course not. VC won't sit the bench due to his ginormous contract. Throw that out and JJ starts IMO. He's not better than VC on offense, but his defense is much better and again IMO is the better player overall. Against Boston, we had no chance to win with VC due to lack of D and constantly running after Jesus Shuttlesworth tires him out on the other end of the court. JJ is one of the better players to match up against him in the league as VC defense is softer than wet kleenex.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@tha truth is…

Carter isn't going to come off the bench. That makes little sense for the Magic.

@Alex

Yeah, I don't think that would pan out well behind-the-scenes.

@Sam Millner

That's probably the most sensible solution. Just allocate more minutes to Redick when necessary. Van Gundy said he was already going to do this season.

@Hoop Dreams

Good observation.

There's a lot of different combinations that Van Gundy could throw out there, but each of them have their flaws. Iguodala would be nice, but he's not coming to the Magic any time soon.

@Rick

I just don't see it. Carter is going to be 34, and his numbers have been steadily declining the last several years. That's not to say that Carter can't have a productive year, but color me skeptical.

@Ezy

Carter could be traded during the season. That's a possibility, sure.

Ezy
Ezy

With the magic matching the Bulls sizeable offer for Redick, one can only assume the magic have great faith in Redicks ability, and high hopes for his future. I personally feel that Redick will be a starter in the coming seasons, especially if he continues to improve on the breakout season he just had.

Starting this year though? I don't believe that's going to come about from a change in Carter's playing position to small forward. I do however think it is a good chance to come about from a trade involving Carter. Unless Carter can turn around his pattern of declining play over the past few seasons (I don't know his season averages over the past few years, I hope the stats support this), I see him as major trade bait for this team.

mentalmagic
mentalmagic

agreed, keep jj on the bench this year even though he may play more minutes than vince on some nights. and next year after some shuffling jj will be prime to start with perhaps a better defender as his back-up.

Rick
Rick

I may be in the minority but I believe Vince will play better this year.

First of all, he know he'll be a free agent next year (cause no one will dare to pick up his 17 million dollar contract) so he'll play with a bit more hunger like he did when his contract was up in New Jersey.

Second, I know he knows EVERYONE is blaming him for the Magic not getting back to The Finals (being Turks' replacement, so to speak). So him being the hometown kid it gotta be eating him up that he didnt come thru against Boston in the ECF.

Finally, he has one year under his belt with the team and should feel a lil more comfortable in the offense.

JJ played well but the only way he starts is if Vince is either hurt, traded or moved to SF. There's no way Vince will be coming off the bench.

Though Vince had a sub-par season last year and didn't play well in the playoffs he's been a consistently good and clutch player throughout his career. Kobe and LeBron also struggle against Boston in the playoffs (not saying Vince is in their league but you get the point).

Expect a much better season from VC.

Hoop Dreams
Hoop Dreams

Seems like the way this team is built puts coach Van Gundy in a bit of a pickle.

As j byrd said, we have three players who "could" start at SF (and I'd add Vince to that mix as well). We also have three players who "could" conceivably start at SG (JJ, Pietrus, Carter), yet, with all that talent, we still seem to have offensive/defensive holes with any configuration we throw out at SG & SF.

Obviously, we need a big, defensive-minded playmaker at the 2. Call me when Otis moves some of our wing pieces for Iguodala (I don't care that he can't shoot the 3).

Sam Millner
Sam Millner

Certainly an interesting possibility. To my mind, the solution is simple, just play JJ longer when he's needed. I'd play Pietrus and Q-Rich 50/50 at 18 minutes a piece and give JJ their extra 12 minutes. Carter @ 30 and JJ at 24, have JJ playing most of the fourth quarter. While Vince hasn't proven that he can consistantly guard 3s, in the fourth quarter, when its close, its so stop-start, its anyone's game, and if he's not stopping them, pietrus can come in and you can run Pietrus with JJ, they played very well as part of Orlando's second unit this year, and together made up part of Orlando's best offensive unit period (along with Gortat, Anderson, and J-Will), with JJ and Pietrus getting the most ppg out of those 5.

Alex
Alex

I certainly hope so, but I hope it isn't because Carter was benched. That sounds like a locker room disaster

tha truth is...
tha truth is...

#1 I thought I was the only person thinking that JJ will become the starter.
#2 found a new respect for you in seeing D-Wade as the best two-guard and not Kobe.

Honestly, I rather see VC come off the bench, due to him lacking his killer instincts he once had but now has lost. JJ is a better shooter and defensive player and has earned tha right to start. VC is now three quarters man, one quarter amazing and doesn't show up in the clutch, which hindered us in the ECF. Against Miami this season I say SVG should give JJ the bulk of the minutes due to his lack of defense. Crazy as I may sound we might have to use VC at the PG at times due to LeBron playing the point thus making Jameer a liability and VC's ball handling ability.