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2015-2016 Clippers Player Preview: J.J. Redick

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We continue our player preview series with the Clippers' offensive MVP: J.J. Redick.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Jonathan Clay Redick

Height: 6'4"

Weight: 190 lbs.

Position: SG

Age/Experience: 31 years old; 9 years experience

Key Stats:

J.J. Redick
PPG RPG APG FG% FT% 3P% PER TS% eFG%
2014-2015 16.4 2.1 1.8 .477 .901 .437 16.2 .622 .583
Career 10.8 1.9 2.0 .441 .888 .400 14.5 .590 .540

Contract Status: Fully guaranteed for $7,085,000 million this season, with $7,377,500 guaranteed next season.

Favorite Emoji: Car

Offense

J.J. Redick is the Clippers' most important offensive player. I'll say it again. J.J. Redick is the Clippers' most important offensive player. While it's not hard to argue that Chris Paul or Blake Griffin are more talented scorers or passers, there is no one on the Clippers that can match or mimic the contribution that Redick brings. Redick is a deadeye shooter that spaces the floor for Lob City, something that is incredibly important when you have two conventional big men playing together in Blake and DeAndre. Redick's shooting prowess is only magnified when you look down the roster and find no one else who can stretch a defense like he can, in an age where shooting and spacing have never been more important.

With Redick on the floor, the Clippers' offense is pretty much unstoppable. In fact, with Redic, the Clippers have placed number one in the league in offensive rating the past two years. Comparing the offensive sets the team runs with Redick on the floor versus the sets without him, it often seems like Doc throws away at least a third of his playbook whenever J.J. takes a seat on the bench. There is just no one else on the Clippers, and very few others in the NBA, that can recreate the type of constant off-ball movement that Redick brings on a nightly basis.

That intelligent off-ball movement is one of the main reasons why Redick had a career year in 2014-2015, making the fifth most threes in the league at 200 while shooting the fifth highest percentage from deep. Defenses gameplan specifically for Redick, putting their best wing defender on him rather than on Chris Paul (as Popovich did with Kawhi Leonard during the playoffs). As a testament to how great J.J. is at moving without the ball, even with all of that increased attention, 20.6% of his threes were classified as open (closest defender 4-6 feet away) and 17.8% were wide open (6+ feet away — note that the numbers don't add up to 100%, so for reference, only 9.2% were tight and 1.2% very tight). In order to show how Redick consistently gets himself that open, take a look at a couple of plays:

Redick uses two screens by Jamal Crawford and Blake Griffin to help lose his man Nicolas Batum. But it's not just screens that free Redick for a wide open jumper. He's so dang intelligent about how and where he runs according to how his defender reacts to the screens. After the initial screen Redick is set to curl around the Griffin pick for a catch and shoot, but J.J. is aware Batum has gone over the screen in order to try and meet him or deflect the pass. Without stopping Redick cuts off his curl and ends closer to the corner, creating oceans of space between him and Batum.

Watch how Redick alters this standard floppy set and completely fools Goran Dragic. Redick pretends to completely circle around a Barnes screen before stopping halfway and rushing to the other corner while DJ stops any hope of recovering or close out from Dragic.

Because I love Redick so much, here's another play that shows a great point of view angle of Redick maneuvering through his teammates in order to free himself (he even uses the opponents as an unintentional screen). Imagine being a defender and how tough it must be to follow J.J. for 30 minutes a night when he's doing things like this all the time.

As you could see in the above play, two major reasons for Redick getting open come from how hard he runs through screen to create separation, as well as how devastating of a pick DeAndre Jordan can set. Redick only needs a glimmer of space to launch his shot, and J.J. makes a ton of buckets just by running really hard at a DJ screen.

Defense

Defensively, Redick is fundamentally sound. While he doesn't have great length or lateral quickness, J.J. makes himself into a reliable defender by always making the correct decisions. He is rarely ever caught out of defensive position and always makes the correct rotation as a help defender. He doesn't reach for steals, but chooses to move his body into the correct spot, which is a big reason why he draws so many charges. Redick can even turn into a plus defender against certain offensive players that thrive on manufacturing fouls from the outstretched arms of defenders *cough*James Harden*cough*. All in all, J.J. is at least an average player that doesn't hurt the team defensively when on the floor, something that can't be said of a lot of shooters in the league.

1st Quarter vs. 4th Quarter

One of the most common criticisms of J.J. Redick is that his constant movement and running around serves as a double edged sword. While Redick is extremely effective in the first quarter when he's fresh, as the game goes on he wears down and is less effective at the end of games. In looking at the 1st quarter vs. 4th quarter splits for last year's regular season, the numbers seem to back the theory up. On average in the 1st quarter, Redick would score 6.5 points on 50% shooting from deep, while in the 4th quarter those numbers dropped to 3 points and 34% three point shooting.

This criticism has only been elevated when talking about the playoffs, with some saying that Redick didn't show up or hit big shots when it counted the most, conceivably in the 4th quarter. The interesting part is that for J.J., his 1st vs 4th quarter splits were the complete opposite in the playoffs. During the postseason, in the 1st quarter Redick shot 34% from deep vs. shooting 56% in the 4th quarter, while scoring about the same number in points. Furthermore, Redick's clutch shooting stats were incredible in the playoffs: down 5 in the last 5 minutes he shot 67% from deep, down 5 in the last 3 minutes he shot the same, and down 5 within the last minute he shot 50%.

2015 - 2016 Outlook

By all accounts 2014-2015 was the best year of Redick's career. He made 200 threes shooting about 44% and averaged 16.4 points a game. Barring any type of injury, there's no reason to think that this year J.J. Redick can't match last year, or be even better than before. Shooters have always tended to age well, and is expecting 225 threes on 46% shooting really that out of the question? J.J. will have another career year and the Clippers will once again be the #1 offense in the NBA.