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Clippers Free Agent Retrospective: JJ Redick

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The hair, the podcast, the watches — oh, and he could shoot too.

Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Key Clipper Facts:

  • First in Clippers history: Three point field goal percentage (44%)
  • Second in Clippers history: Three point field goals (674 made)
  • Second in Clippers history: Free throw percentage (89.7%)
  • Played four seasons with the Clippers, including 40 playoff games
  • Averaged about 16 points per game on 45% percent shooting
  • Left the Clippers as a free agent, signing a one-year, $23 million contract with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Expectations:

JJ was never expected to be part of the Clippers’ superstar core, but he certainly was seen as an integral piece — someone that was necessary as a complement to Chris Paul and Doc Rivers’ ability to run plays for shooters (our own Ray Allen).

He was not typically held responsible for guarding the Clippers’ opponents’ best scorers, although that was somewhat unavoidable with so many great guards in the Western Conference. Redick is not particularly athletic (grading on the NBA curve, of course), so we, as Clippers fans, just expected JJ to do enough to help Chris Paul, who could handle most of the defensive responsibilities.

Last year’s play launched JJ’s SI Player Ranking from 93 to 59, which is an admittedly useless predictor of play, but shows nonetheless how big of a year 2015-2016 was for JJ. But, when it came to this year’s expectations specifically, we, as Clippers fans, knew that Redick would have a hard time keeping up with his stellar shooting from the 2015-2016 season. It was likely that he was bound to regress at least a little bit.

Overall, Redick joined the Clippers right in the peak of his career, which meant that he was not going to be given much leeway or time to get his legs under him. The Clippers were, at the time, ready to compete for a Championship right away, so Redick was expected to be a consistent piece — especially on the offensive end.

Reality:

Redick largely followed through on his expectations. He was a knock down shooter — and even had some surprisingly good moments on the defensive end. He also fit in well with the team, at least for the bulk of his time, especially with other veterans like Jamal Crawford (with whom he would often play ‘arm-chair’ general manager).

For these reasons, he quickly became a fan favorite. We, here, at Clips Nation, loved to throw up “BAE BAE Redick” tweets when he got hot from the field. And, of course, he always stunned us with the hair, watches, and overall put-together style.

Unfortunately, though, we too often saw him in those nice suits and perfect hair: he had some injury issues. That trick-back of his was good for a couple bouts of spasms per season, and even blunted a playoff run.

JJ’s Fit with the Clippers:

JJ’s last season with the Clippers was just as productive as his previous three seasons in respect to scoring and minutes per game. He did fall off, however, in respect to field goal and three point percentage. During the 2015-2016 season, JJ shot an elite 47.5% from three, yet only got to 43% this season (still good, obviously). Moreover, he dropped nearly 4% in field goal percentage this year as well (from 48% to 44.5%). He was particularly deadly from the left corner — shooting 55%.

The injuries to the team — Blake and CP3, especially — certainly held JJ back to some extent. We also saw some signs of unhappiness throughout the season as well. In fact, JJ lent his voice to this when he said that the Clippers played with “no joy.” Moreover, he told Hoops Hype that he had been in contact with a couple 76ers players during the year. Not to read too much into this, but it seems possible that either JJ’s dissatisfaction led him to be distracted during the season or vice-versa.

From a more analytical perspective, Redick was still a net positive for the team (plus-6 +/-). He also stepped up, when the aforementioned injuries occurred, and played 10% more minutes at the point guard position (the injury to Austin Rivers also contributed to this development). These two data points, I believe, should remind Clippers fans that JJ Redick was a player we could generally rely on to be productive, regardless of the condition of the team as a whole.

Legacy:

JJ Redick’s four years on the Clippers will most likely be little more than a footnote when the Chris Paul era of Clippers basketball is reminisced upon. But we ought to take this moment — JJ’s exit — to remember that he was an integral part of perhaps one of the best starting lineups in NBA history. And where that lineup thrived — on offense — he was the resident sharp-shooter. He set, or threatened, franchise and league shooting records, which supplemented the Lob City tactics of the CP3-BG-DJ core.

One could also say that, during his time with the Clippers, JJ cemented his legacy as an NBA basketball player rather than a NCAA star that also played in the NBA. Sure, Redick had played meaningful and impactful basketball before his time with the Clippers. However, being able to play at a high level next to Chris Paul solidified his stature as a “pro” in the collective NBA fan conscious. They might have seemed fun or gimmicky at the time, but JJ’s participation in the Three Point Contest (twice) helped remind the national, non-Clips Nation NBA fans that he is not just JJ from Duke. No: He is a legit professional, too.

He was also a decent guy: He was kind to reporters, a good teammate, and was generous with his unique perspective as a player that also tried to think like a general manager. We were lucky to have JJ during the time when he was the first player to have their own podcast, which he used to give us access to his Clipper teammates and the greater NBA community. And, perhaps most importantly, he was an example for how to dress, wear watches, and style one’s hair in such a way that expressed confidence and grace. He truly was an icon in a very different way than Chris Paul was, or Blake Griffin is.

JJ’s arrival and exit both came at a very good times. He joined the team right when they were ready to reign down terror on the Western Conference, and is leaving right as the Clippers go forward on a new path. Although there were certainly tense and frustrating times within the JJ-Clips Nation fan base, we should acknowledge that things were generally good — and we had a lot of fun watching him shoot.