One of the most dangerous offensive threats the college game has seen in quite some time, J.J. Redick has mastered the art of putting the ball in the basket and has been rewarded by shattering countless team, conference and NCAA records in his four years of college.
Redick became known on the national scene first and foremost for his perimeter stroke, despite the fact that there is now more to his game than just that. He is legitimately one of the best shooters the college game has ever seen. Redicks mechanics are perfect, and absolutely identical every time; starting with his outstanding footwork, the way he squares his shoulders and balances himself instantaneously, the lift he gets on his jump shot, the incredible quickness of his release, and the beautiful follow through he puts on his shot every single time. There is absolutely no way to become the type of shooter he has developed into without putting countless hours of hard work based on pure repetition and understanding the physics of what effective 3-point shooting is based on. This will translate into well over 450 3-pointers made by the time Redick is done at Duke, tops in NCAA history. Redick is not only a volume shooter, hes also deadly accurate, shooting around 41% from behind the arc for his career at Duke despite being one of the most closely guarded players in the country for much of that time. His range extends well beyond the 3-point line without losing much of its accuracy, showing the ability to nail some incredibly contested shots from 28 feet or more without changing his mechanics one bit.
Its not just his mechanics and range that make him so dangerous, but also the effort he puts in to utilize them that has made him so prolific in his NCAA career. Redicks off the ball movement is a thing of beauty. He is one of the tougher players to guard in the NCAA not just because of his outstanding skill level, but also because of how hard he makes his defenders work to defend him. Hes constantly in motion moving off the ball, working the entire 25 foot radius around his basket from sideline to sideline which constitutes the shooting range in which he is virtually automatic with his feet set and an inch of space. He has worked extremely hard on his conditioning level, and is now able to run endlessly around the floor for 37 minutes per game on average without tiring. He uses screens incredibly well (much like Reggie Miller or Rip Hamilton) and understands the right angles to take, the sharp cuts he needs to make and having the perfect timing to execute the plays run for him to perfection to free himself up. His specialty is coming off a screen on the baseline, catching the ball from behind the left part of the 3-point line, leaping in the air and turning towards the basket simultaneously while releasing and swishing his shot in one fluid motion. Redick is just an extremely intelligent player who understands the game and has figured out how to maximize his time within it.
Beyond just being a threat from behind the 3-point line, Redick has also mastered the art of the mid-range shot which compliments his outside shooting proficiency so well. Because it takes him such little space and time to get his deadly shot off, hes guarded about as closely as anyone in the NCAA, usually being the focal point of the opposing teams defense. What Redick will do to counter that is use an impressive arsenal of head, shot and body fakes (which obviously have a ton of credibility) to get his man off-balance and drive right by him. He then is able to stop on a dime, elevate quickly while fading away left, right, backwards, forwards or straight up to knock down the mid-range jumper from anywhere inside the arc. This part of his game has become a deadly part of his arsenal in his senior year, to the point that he has to rely on his outside shot only for about half of his field goal attempts, as opposed to nearly 2/3rds of the time as a freshman or sophomore. His ball-handling has improved enough he can make his way to the basket effectively without much trouble, either to finish himself with a nifty layup off the glass or find the open man on the drive and dish if the paint is too crowded for his liking. In his senior year Redick is shooting an outstanding 50% from the field and 43.4% of his outside shots at the time of this report.
To back up just how much more versatile Redicks offense has become, he gets to the free throw line almost 8 times per game, compared with just 3.3 times as a freshman and 4.0 as a sophomore. For comparisons sake, uber-athlete Rodney Carney goes to the line 3.5 times per game, Brandon Rush is there 2.25 times, and similarly sized Randy Foye is there 5 times per.
Once he gets to the free throw line, Redick is about as close to automatic as you can get. He will likely finish as the all-time best free throw shooter in NCAA history if he continues at his current pace. At the time of this report (March 1) he was still on track to break Gary Buchanans record of 91.3%, with Redick sporting a 92% average himself. His effectiveness from the line has dropped a bit this season as the minutes and attempts have piled up, but at 88% hes still world-class.
Redick is a pretty good passer, generally being an unselfish player who knows his limitations and understands his teammates strengths enough to not abuse his offense. He doesnt make many mistakes and has shown the willingness and ability to make the extra pass and coexist within a highly structured offense. You will rarely see him take a bad shot, or at least one that he is not capable of making more often than not.
In terms of intangibles, you know what you are going to get every night with Redick, and that is maximum effort and consistency. Hes scored 18 or more points a game in all but two games this season so far, and has put up 30 or more in half of his games, hitting 40+ three times on the way. He has an outstanding work ethic and by all accounts appears to be an excellent teammate both on and off the floor. His leadership skills look very strong, leading by example with the impressive way he carries himself, but also not being afraid to get on his younger teammates when they dont execute. Redick is a clutch player who wants the ball in his hands at the end of games, and his shown absolutely no fear of taking the last shot with the clock running down.
He shows some veteran savvy that will work well for him once his credibility is established with NBA refs, already using the Reggie Miller trademarked scissor kick leg action to draw fouls when hes being heavily contested. He is usually the most intense player on the floor, playing the game with a ton of passion, but not letting this allow him to get out of control and lose his focus for getting the win. No player in the NCAA has been more abused in his career both by opposing fans and players who try to get under his skin with insults and cheap shots, but Redick has the mental toughness to not let any of this phase him.
He plays for who many consider to be the best coach in the NCAA in Mike Krzyzewski, at one of the top programs in the country at Duke. During his four years in college hes garnered as much experience winning games and playing in pressure situations as a player conceivably can in an NCAA career.
Most of Redicks weaknesses revolve around the characteristics that are usually expected from prototypical shooting guards in the NBA, and the fact that players in his mold have seen limited success in the NBA over the past 10 years or more.
First would be his size. At 6-4, Redick is below average for an NBA shooting guard. In todays NBA we find very few starting caliber 2-guards at his height, and even those are usually players with superior athleticism compared with what Redick displays at the moment. His wingspan does not make up for his lack of height either.
Second would be his athletic ability. Despite not being a poor athlete, Redick does not fit your typical mold of extremely quick and explosive shooting guards who are able to blow by their man at will and get up and dunk in the face of 7-footers with authority. His footspeed is just average, as is his leaping ability, and therefore there will be questions he will have to answer about his ability to translate his incredible scoring ability to the NBA where defenders are generally bigger, stronger, longer and quite a bit more athletic than the players he usually goes up against in the NCAA. Redick is not a player who needs much space, if any, to get his shot off effectively. Still, there will be people along the road who look at his average physical attributes, skin color and the lack of similar players with his characteristics and doubt how successful he will be at what he does once he reaches the NBA level.
Being a good, but not a great ball-handler, Redick is not a player who can create his own shot at will without some help from his teammates and a smart coachs game plan, and therefore might not be able to fit seamlessly into any NBA system. The team that drafts him will need to take advantage of his strengths and be prepared to do what it takes to mask his weaknesses, which means calling plays for him to make sure he gets involved, ideally as a 2nd or 3rd option offensively. A stubborn coach who does not realize what a weapon he has on his hands and is foolish enough to not make the proper adjustments to utilize them would be a clear recipe for disaster both for him and his team. Redick would be greatly aided by playing with either an excellent point guard who can penetrate the lane, force the defense to collapse and kick the ball out to him in a position to use his outstanding stroke and/or a back to the basket big man who draws double-teams and is able to pass out of them to find the open man after the defense shifts.
One part of his game where his weaknesses will almost surely be exposed is on the defensive end. Redick is just an average defender at the NCAA level already, and this is an area where things can only get worse in the NBA. His lack of height likely means that many 6-7 shooting guards will be able to just elevate over the top of him to get their shot off, while his lack of lateral quickness could make it tough for him to stay in front of his man. In the fairly rare occasion that a taller and stronger player decides to post him up on the block, Redicks relative lack of bulk can be taken advantage of.
Fantasy basketball lovers beware, Redick is not a stat stuffer, averaging just 2 rebounds, a decent 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals. Its his scoring that makes him the prospect he is.
Redick plays in the ACC, widely considered one of the best conferences in America throughout his 4 years of play here. He was a starter from day one at Duke, averaging 15 points as a freshman in 30 minutes per game next to current NBA players Chris Duhon and Dahntay Jones. His team made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament that year, but Redick came up flat in their loss to eventual finalists Kansas with a 2-16 shooting performance. As a sophomore his team made the Final Four before losing to eventual champions UConn (led by Emeka Okafor), with Redick averaging 16 points per game in 31 minutes per game that season. In his junior year Redick became a national star, averaging 22 points per game, being named a first team All-American but again coming up short in the NCAA tournament with a loss in the Sweet 16 to eventual final four participants Michigan State. Redick was clearly gassed from the long season and had a very poor tournament by his standards, shooting 10/38 from the field and 6-24 from behind the arc in three games. As a senior, Redick has upped his scoring averages considerably to an impressive 28 points per game at the time of this report on 50% shooting from the field, putting him neck and neck all season long for the NCAA scoring crown with Adam Morrison. His team is widely considered strong candidates to make the Final Four once again after only losing one game so far this season.
As a high school player, Redick was highly regarded, winning Virginias Mr. Basketball award and being named to the McDonalds All-American game, where he won MVP honors.
Redick did everything humanly possible during the regular season to position himself to be selected in the lottery of the 2006 NBA draft. A poor showing in March (he already come up short in the past here) muddied the waters quite a bit, though, confirming many of the concerns many already had about him.
Private workouts is not a place where Redick stands a lot to gain considering the emphasis that is put on one-on-one play, defense and athletic testing, so expect him to pick and choose which ones to show up for and who to go up against.
At the end of the day, look for him to land somewhere in the 7-17 range of the draft.
Played for the US national team as a junior in the 2003 Men's Junior World Championship team in Greece. In 2005, Redick was invited to the USA Men's U21 World Championship Team in Argentina. Neither the US or Redick fared very well in either tournament, especially finishing in fourth in Argentina despite sending a team of legit college superstars.