On the year, J.J. Redick is shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 45.2 percent from beyond the arc. Those numbers alone speak volumes about how important he is to the team’s offensive infrastructure. Look beyond his 14.4 points per game, and you’ll find a guy who constantly gravitates the opposing defense towards him as runs around the court in half-court sets like a running back trying to dodge tacklers. Since his arrival, Redick has made the Los Angeles Clippers one of the best offensive teams in basketball. His outburst in the third quarter on Wednesday night should not have shocked anyone as he’s shown to be capable of such prodigious scoring spurts in the past.
To even put how ridiculous of an offensive player he is right now, Redick is averaging 1.89 points per possession on spot-up opportunities. That mark leads the entire NBA (minimum 20 possessions), and so does his 97.9 percent Effective Field Goal Percentage on those possessions. He also leads the league in possessions used as a hand-off shooter with 69. On those, he’s averaging 1.04 points per possession and a 52.6 percent Effective Field Goal Percentage. To say that Redick is one of the most dangerous shooters in the entire association would undersell just how good he truly happens to be.
In Wednesday night’s game, Redick totaled 31 points. However, it was a third quarter stretch for him that was truly impressive to watch. Redick dropped in 15 points in the third quarter alone on 6-of-8 shooting. The way he moved around the court was a sight to behold, and the ability he had to get his shot off in tight spaces was incredible. Without that onslaught, there’s no telling how the rest of the game goes. Let’s roll the footage and see how J.J. Redick completely shelled the Milwaukee Bucks in his return to an old stomping ground.
To kick things off, we get to see Redick use his off ball movement quite a bit. The play initially starts with Redick running the baseline on a double screen, and ending it by coming off of a pindown by Blake Griffin. Since he has no shot off the curl, Redick passes the ball back to Chris Paul at the top of the arc. From there, Redick then expertly navigates down the right wing to the right corner. As Redick does so, the Clippers then go into a pick-and-roll with Paul and DeAndre Jordan. Redick tosses his hand up, and Paul spots Redick in the corner. As the ball makes its way across the court on a skip pass, Griffin sets a screen on Khris Middleton to give Redick enough space. Pass arrives, Redick rises and fires, and the ball goes in.
This play is pretty interesting. The initial look for Redick didn’t work, but the ball didn’t stick after that. Instead, it found its way back to Paul as the Clippers then jumped into a quick 1-5 pick-and-roll. The strongside action let Redick get free on the weakside as the screen happened. Griffin stayed on the weakside to set Redick a screen, and it worked beautifully. The other option on this play is for Paul to feed Griffin at the right elbow if Middleton is stuck with Redick instead of cheating onto the screen game. Everything worked out beautifully.
Several minutes later, we get to see a very popular set for the Clippers. It’s a double-high pick-and-roll where the two bigs – Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan – each set a screen above the arc so that Chris Paul can get the defense scuffling. Paul takes Griffin’s screen, gets downhill towards Jabari Parker, and the Bucks have to try and stop him from getting to the rim. The issue is that Khris Middleton faces Paul on the drive while losing track of Redick in the strongside corner. This allows Paul to find Redick, and Redick gets the shot off while Middleton attempts to contest it. Redick knocks it down, and he’s off to a roaring start.
It’s not that the Bucks defended this play poorly. The issue, though, is that Middleton turned his back to his own man while just watching Paul drive. You can’t do that as a defender. All Redick needs is a sliver of space to get his shot off, and Middleton gave it to him. Two key things happen on this play. Luc Mbah a Moute leaves the strongside corner which allows Redick to run through to the same corner, and Paul’s ability to get into the paint makes everything happen. Without Paul’s penetration and Luc’s movement, it’s entirely possible Redick doesn’t get open here.
A little later, we get a baseline-out-of-bounds play for the Clippers. The ball gets inbounded to Redick at about 20-feet, and he has a chance for a contested mid-range jumper but he pulls it down. Redick then passes it off to Jordan, who then swings it to Paul after Paul comes over the top of a couple screens. Jordan then sets a screen for Redick to curl off of, but Middleton plays it well and recovers. Redick reads the recovery, attack dribbles to the right, and gets free into the paint after a pass fake to Paul that draws O.J. Mayo away from the drive. Redick throws up a floater as the shot clock dwindles down, and the Clippers take the lead.
Several things went wrong on this play before they went right. Redick’s catch on the inbounds play was supposed to lead him into a jumper, but it was shut off. Redick then set a screen for Paul, but Paul didn’t get free. After that, Redick attempted to curl off of a Jordan screen, but that was also shut down. That’s when Redick’s improvisation paid off. He used his ability to attack closeouts with his dribble, and got into the paint with relative ease after a simple pass fake. This really is a pristine job done by Redick all-around. The movement, the attack, the pass fake, the floater. All were perfect.
Less than a minute later, we get to see what happens when the Clippers attack early in a shot clock. Paul is dribbling across midcourt, and Jordan sets a little screen for him at the top of the arc. Paul comes off the screen, but he’s met by a trapping Greg Monroe. Paul feathers the ball back to Jordan, and Jordan quickly passes to Griffin as Jabari Parker and O.J. Mayo try to trap and strip him. Griffin gets the pass, attacks Giannis Antetokounmpo’s clouseout, and no-look passes to Redick at the right wing. Redick steps into the three, and the Clippers suddenly have a two possession lead now.
This play is almost a little similar to the kind of action that the Golden State Warriors get when teams try to trap Stephen Curry on pick-and-rolls. Paul finds Jordan after the trap, Jordan finds Griffin after another potential trap, and the Clippers then have a 3-on-2 situation building. Mbah a Moute cuts the baseline for a possible dunk, which draws Khris Middleton away from Redick, and Griffin uses his expect passing ability to find Redick open on the wing. This is one of those plays where you can see how everyone understands their role and where guys are going to be. This was truly special. Redick made yet another shot as Middleton attempted to contest, and it shows just how adept he can be with a defender flying right at him.
Here, we see Redick start out the possession in the left corner. He comes off of double screen action by Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and Redick gets the ball on a hand-off from DeAndre Jordan. Jordan then sets Redick a third screen, and Redick fires in a baseline mid-range jumper as the defense can’t close out on him fast enough. In all, this was tough for O.J. Mayo to defend. He did a solid job getting over the first two screens, but he couldn’t navigate the third one in time to contest the shot. Then again, this is probably Greg Monroe’s fault for not closing out. This was probably Redick’s toughest shot that he made in the third quarter, but it shows you just how good he is.
Lastly, we see Redick being guarded by Michael Carter-Williams. The lanky point guard is a solid defender, but he’s not nearly good enough off the ball to keep up with what Redick wants to do. Redick sets a cross screen for Paul at the top of the arc, and it gets a switch that draws Carter-Williams onto Redick. From there, Redick runs around a bunch screen by Mbah a Moute and Griffin. Carter-Williams takes a chance and shoots the gap. Redick then dummy points to his left which confuses Carter-Williams slightly, and then Redick sprints to his right. Jordan sets Redick a screen that doesn’t do much, but Carter-Williams plays Redick for the three. Paul’s pass leads Redick directly into a long two-point jumper, and Redick knocks it down.
In theory, Carter-Williams didn’t play this possession all too bad until the very end. He took a chance shooting the gap on the initial bunch screen rather than going over the top, but going over the top would have left Redick wide open underneath the hoop. He then got left on the second screen action, but he fought back to try and contest. However, he was far too late. If Carter-Williams didn’t play Redick for the three on this play, then perhaps he could have given a better contest on the two. As it stood, Redick got the space he needed for the shot, and the Clippers increased their lead to seven.
During his stint with the Clippers, J.J. Redick has been a beacon of off-ball movement. He might even be the gold standard in the league right now. His ability to constantly move and keep the defense gravitating towards him is one of the game’s greatest joys. Redick’s court awareness, intelligence, and savvy help the team more than statistics could ever show. The mere threat he presents is worth the price of admission alone. For one 9:56 stretch in the third quarter, J.J. Redick was a shot-making monster. For the Clippers to be successful this season, they’ll need that to continue.