Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
|2010-2011 regular season||J.J. Redick|
It was a season full of change for the Orlando Magic, and J.J. Redick is one of the few players on the roster that witnessed all of it.
At the start of the year, Redick’s teammates were Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Rashard Lewis, and Mickael Pietrus. And when it was all said and done, Redick finished the season with Gilbert Arenas, Earl Clark, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu. Not to mention that Redick also had new teammates in Quentin Richardson and Chris Duhon when the year began. Malik Allen and Daniel Orton, too, if people want to get technical about it.
It’s crazy to point it out but Redick is one of four players for the Magic that remain from the 2009 roster that made it to the NBA Finals. That number would have been three had Turkoglu not make his return to Orlando midseason.
A few years ago, no one would have considered Redick as part of the Magic’s core alongside Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson, but that’s essentially what happened as general manager Otis Smith jettisoned nearly the entire team in trades and brought in other new faces via free agency this year.
Redick emerged as a mainstay in head coach Stan Van Gundy‘s rotation during 2009, then had a career season in 2010, which netted him a three-year, $20 million offer sheet as a restricted free agent from the Chicago Bulls that Orlando matched during last year’s offseason. Redick earned his new contract through hard work, and all the Magic needed from him this season was to stick with the status quo with regards to his productivity. It’s human nature for Redick to feel the pressures of living up to his new salary, but Orlando simply needed him to keep being the player that he was. For the most part, Redick did that for the Magic this year.
What type of player is that you ask?
In other words, Redick is an super-efficient role playing shooting guard that may not be the best individual defender, especially when going up against the likes of Joe Johnson in the playoffs, but isn’t a total liability either and is a better team defender than given credit for.
Offensively, Redick is at his best in spot-up shooting opportunities but he’s more than capable of scoring in pick and rolls or off screens, so he’s not a one-dimensional player by any means.
That’s the player that Orlando got for a second straight season.
If there’s anything to nitpick about Redick, it’s that he started off the year in a shooting slump. In his first 10 games of the season, Redick shot 13-of-50 (26 percent) from the field, including a dreadful 3-of-25 (12 percent) mark from three-point range. However, in the next few games after that, inadvertently benefitting from Carter sitting out with a knee injury that allowed him to start and play extended minutes, Redick got his groove back shooting-wise — a 20-point performance against the Miami Heat on November 24 stands out the most during that stretch.
From there, it was smooth sailings for Redick until he suffered an abdominal injury in March. That sidelined Redick for a little over a month, not allowing him to return until the postseason started. The extended absence seemed to affect Redick, even though he did have a stellar Game 5 against the Atlanta Hawks.
So, granted, Redick’s year wasn’t all peaches and cream.
Early-season slump and injury aside, it’s hard to find much fault with how Redick played for the Magic. Redick played up to his capabilities, even if he saw a slight dip in some of his numbers, and did what was asked of him. It’s no coincidence, then, that Redick is one of Van Gundy’s most trusted players. Redick is a professional and gets the job done, more times than not.
The only question surrounding Redick is whether or not he’ll ever become the starter at shooting guard for Orlando?
The answer should be no.
This isn’t meant to disparage Redick’s skills by any means, but he has limitations as a player that make it tough to heavily rely on him. And teams that aspire to win championships don’t start players like Redick at shooting guard.
That being said, Redick’s current role is perfectly suited for him, which means the Magic will continue to have a reliable player on their hands.