[Ed. Note: Brent is a young writer fueled by a passionate Pacers pulse who's always welcomed around these parts. Anyone who can make J.J. Redick sound this enticing deserves a bump to the front page. Enjoy.]
In a past interview with the Charlotte Observer , J.J. Redick said, “I think I'll be a role player like 80 percent of the players in the league are.” J.J. continued to say that he doesn’t “expect to be a star,” and he is just going to “shoot,” and “be a team player,” seems to fit the mold of the type of player Herb Simon, Larry Bird, and Jim O’Brien are looking for in their attempt to change the culture, chemistry, and style of the Indiana Pacers.
Since Redick was selected 11th overall by the Orlando Magic in the 2006 NBA Draft, J.J. was correct about one of his predictions, he hasn’t become a star. Redick not becoming a star isn’t a result of a lack in effort, injuries, or a bad attitude, but it’s a result of his head coaches Brian Hill (2006-07) and Stan Van Gundy (2007-08) never letting him play. In Redick’s first two years in the NBA, the Orlando Magic haven’t allowed the arguable best shooter in the history of college basketball the opportunity to shoot the ball, so the notion that Redick can’t play in the NBA is absurd because nobody really knows. Since Redick publicly demanded a trade for the second time in his young career Pacers fans can only hope Larry Bird sees the potential in J.J. Redick and attempts to package a deal to bring J.J. to the Indiana Pacers, just look at the career turnaround the last Duke player Bird brought to the Pacers had, Mike Dunleavy Junior.
To put Redick’s playing time with the Orlando Magic into perspective Flip Murray joined the Pacers for their final 23 games and played 529 minutes. In the same season (2007-08) with the Orlando Magic, out of the 82 regular season games Redick was only given the opportunity to play in 34 games, playing 276 minutes. Even 27 year old Andre Owens of the Indiana Pacers received more playing time (392 minutes) in comparison to Redick. In knowing Owens is technically a point guard and Redick a shooting guard, I still believe that with the Pacers currently rebuilding, having Redick on the Pacers roster and giving him 15-20 minutes a game would not only fill up more seats but with Redick’s upside he could ultimately end up a legitimate scoring threat, especially if the Pacers end up hanging onto Jermaine O’Neal (if Jermaine comes back healthy and actually starts kicking the ball out to his perimeter shooters when he draws double teams). Redick still has unknown potential and with hardly playing the last two years the Pacers could get Redick at a discount.
When first hired by the Indiana Pacers Jim O'Brien said the Pacers need to add shooters because he likes the 3-point shot. In shooting the three-ball his first season at a franchise record setting pace, JOB proved to the fans that he sincerely is committed to the three-ball, but as he said on an online chat transcript with fans on Pacers.com, "We don't want to take bad three-point shots, our definition of a good three is when we have a standstill open three-pointer." When asked who he believed were 3-point threats, JOB mentioned Granger, Dunleavy, Williams, Murphy, and Tinsley. With Tinsley likely out of the Pacers future plans, it is obvious that a 12 man active roster with a system and coaching style built around the three-ball needs more than a third of the players with three-ball capabilities.
In 2004, Dick Vitale called Redick the best pure shooter in college basketball since Chris Mullin was at St. John's in the early 1980s and Pacers fans surely haven’t forgotten about the impact Mullin had on the Pacers when acquired from Golden State for center Eric Dampier (Mullin helped the Pacers to the 2000 NBA Finals). In reference to Redick, former AP National Coach of the Year Matt Doherty said, "If you were to teach a young man how to shoot, you would show him video of J.J. Redick because his form is textbook." During his playing days in college, no shooter received more attention from defenses than Redick, and that pool of players included the likes of Chris Paul, Ben Gordon, and Rashad McCants. With Paul averaging over 37 minutes per game, Gordon 31, and McCants 27 in the 2007-08 NBA season it makes no sense whatsoever that Redick averaged only 8 minutes per game with the Orlando Magic.
Many of the NBA experts projected Redick in the worst case scenario to end up in a similar role as Steve Kerr had during his 5 year stint with the Chicago Bulls. During his time in Chicago, Kerr averaged 23 minutes per game, shot 473P%, averaged 8 points per game, and helped the Bulls to three NBA championships (and two more later in his career with the San Antonio Spurs in a diminished role). One of the main arguments against Redick is that he is too small. With Kerr being 6-1 and 180 lb he was undoubtedly successful and useful in a pure shooter role player off the bench for Chicago, so why couldn’t the 6-4 190 lb Redick do the same for a team in the NBA like the Pacers? In his career at Duke, Redick made 457 three pointers, ranking number one in NCAA and ACC history. It is obvious that Redick can shoot the three-ball and the Pacers need more three point threats. With the chance of getting Redick for someone like similarly under utilized Ike Diogu (who doesn’t fit Jim O’Brien’s system and style of play), Pacers fans can only hope Larry Bird at least calls Magic GM Otis Thorpe about Redick.
Awards Redick Won at Duke
James Sullivan Award
John R. Wooden Award
James Naismith Award
Adolph F. Rupp Trophy (Repeat)
Senior CLASS Award
Consensus All-American (Repeat)
AP National Player of the Year
NABC Co-Player of the Year
USBWA Co-Player of the Year
ESPN National Player of the Year
Sporting News National Player of the Year
Basketball Times National POY
ACC Player of the Year (Repeat)
ACC Tournament MVP (Repeat)
Quotes About Redick
"I'm glad he's on our side because we still have a chance as long as we have him."
"He's off the charts with focus and commitment. Nobody has had more or done it better here...He's one of the truly great players to play in this conference. Of all time, this kid's a treasure. That's part of learning every year and not being satisfied with where you're at. He's a believer."
Duke Blue Devils Head, Coach Mike Krzyzewski
"He's more than just a shooter. He's tough and knows how to play."
Boston Celtics Head Coach, Doc Rivers
"I saw [J.J.] against Texas, and he shot the lights out. I saw him against Memphis, and he shot the lights out. Those are two fairly athletic teams. The ACC is filled with athletes who tried to shut him down, and he set the all-time scoring record."
Portland Trail Blazers GM John Nash
"He's the best shooter in the college game by far. His footwork, finish, rotation. It's flawless; it really is."
NBA shooting coach Dave Hopla