Double J Becoming A Real Boy

What has always been Redick’s question mark is defense. That is why Stan Van Gundy has taken a while to trust him and Brian Hill buried him on the bench.

It is still hard to quantify defense in any way. Redick still appears to be struggling defensively by the measures that do exist — the team has a 49.1% eFG allowed when Redick is on the court.

But to the eye, I think Redick’s defense has improved greatly. He is never going to be a fantastic one-on-one defender. But against shooters (think Ray Allen in last year’s Boston series) and role players, Redick does a very good job locking down, staying in front of his man and contesting shots.

via Defending JJ Redick.

It’s nice when a guy continues his play from the playoffs. Or as I like to call it, the “Anti-Ariza.”

Redick’s work against Ray Allen was why Orlando got past the Celtics, once you get past the obvious El Tigre Monstruoso in the corner aspect. He killed himself to get through screens, to pre-empt passes, to make life hell on Ray Allen. And you could tell that was his only objective. It wasn’t to hit big shots in the playoffs, or to become a part of the offense. His entire life goal for six games was “Make Ray Allen a sad panda.” And he did it.

He’s translated that performance to this season, even after SVG through him back to the dungeon as soon as the ECF started. And finally, mercifully, his offense has started to come around. J.J.’s posting career numbers in FG%, 3pt% (up 7%!) Assists per 40, TS%, PER, and weighted assists. That last one is particularly interesting. Per 40, he’s knocking down slightly more 3 pointers, but he’s also creating two three point assists per 40. That’s a six point swing in passing alone.

Redick has the potential to be a real playoff star. He’s never going to be elite. That’s not what happens to white pure-shooters from Duke. Anymore. But he can be a part of something great, and after years of struggling under SVG, his patience is paying off. That’s such a great story it makes me want to dance a jig…

…while watching Duke lose in the tournament. There. That’s better.

Matt Moore

Matt Moore is a Senior NBA Blogger for CBSSports.com's Eye on Basketball blog, weekend editor of Pro Basketball Talk on NBCSports.com, and co-editor of Voice on the Floor. He lives in Kansas City due to an unbelievably complex set of circumstances and enjoys mid-90's pop rock, long walks on the beach and the novels of Tim Sandlin.