The transformation of J.J. Redick

One bright spot for the Magic in this Boston series has been the play of reserve guard J.J. Redick. In four games, he has averaged 11.5 points and has hit 7-of-13 shots from long range.

So how did the former first round pick go from appearing in just 76 games in his first two seasons to playing crucial minutes in an Eastern Conference Final?

I can’t point to just one thing, though he wouldn’t be getting any minutes if he wasn’t playing good defense. He has done a nice job of chasing Ray Allen around screens, which is something that the guy starting ahead of him — Vince Carter — doesn’t do very well. Redick is a nice matchup for Allen because it takes a while for Ray Ray to put the ball on the floor, and that allows Redick, who is not fleet of foot, to cut off the drive.

He’s also making his shots, which is another area of the game where Carter is really struggling. Sure, Carter has the athleticism to penetrate, but what’s the point of having him on the court if he’s only making 37% of his shots and 18% from long range? If you’re Stan Van Gundy, wouldn’t you rather have Redick out there? At least he’ll knock down some shots when given the opportunity.

It has been an interesting road for the former college player of the year. He certainly had his detractors coming into the league, but when you can shoot like he can, there’s a place for you in the NBA, assuming you can figure out how to defend. And that’s exactly what Redick has done.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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