Chronicles of Redick, Part IIJ.J Redick averaged 6.0 ppg in 14.8 mpg last year in his rookie season with Orlando, shooting just .410 from the field. I have mentioned on several occasions, including the first edition of Chronicles of Redick (which can be found in this post), that I have serious doubts that Redick will ever be a significant contributor on a good NBA team. Yet, after watching some summer league games, David Thorpe has reaffirmed his opinion that Redick could "become a starter for a playoff team."
Thorpe cites Redick's "incredible confidence as a shot-maker and the ability to draw fouls" as reasons that he can be a significant contributor on offense. He dismisses suggestions that Redick is a liability at the other end of the court: "Redick is very competitive, locking in on defense and showing a willingness to fight on each possession." Thorpe adds, "Though he is known for his deft shooting and overall scoring ability, I think leadership is Redick's biggest strength" and concludes with the aforementioned notion about Redick starting for a playoff team.
Thorpe acknowledges that NBA executives and scouts were very much divided in their perceptions of Redick prior to last year's draft and I can confirm that based on conversations that I had last spring with several people who are "in the know." Redick was hampered in 2006-07 by a back injury and that is the thin reed that his advocates are grasping now to explain his very pedestrian production, even though his April statistics (6.3 ppg, .433 field goal shooting) were basically the same as the numbers he put up earlier when he was getting back in shape and adjusting to the NBA game. In any case, by all accounts Redick is healthy now, so let's take a closer look at the summer league games that have so impressed Thorpe.
After three games in the Pepsi Pro Summer League--which is being held in Orlando and includes teams from Charlotte, Chicago, Indiana, Miami, New Jersey and Orlando--Redick ranks first in scoring (23.7 ppg). That sounds good, but look at the next five players on the list: Marcus Williams (NJ; 19.3 ppg), Kareem Rush (Ind; 18.0 ppg), Tyrus Thomas (Chi; 16.0 ppg), Chris Quinn (Mia; 15.7 ppg) and Stephen Graham (Ind; 15.7 ppg). The race for the Pepsi League scoring title lacks a little star power, to say the least. Thorpe raves about Redick's first game, a 30 point effort on 7-18 field goal shooting (.389). Redick did not attempt more than 11 shots in a game all season for two very good reasons: he has trouble getting his shot off against good NBA defenders and he has trouble making shots that are contested by good NBA defenders. Thorpe raves about how productive Redick has been in the Pepsi League despite the whole defense being geared to stop him but shooting 7-18 against fringe NBA players hardly proves that Redick can get off 18 quality shots--let alone shoot a decent percentage--against good NBA players. Redick did shoot 14-26 (.538) in his next two Pepsi League games but I fail to understand why the 7-18 night so excites Thorpe.
Redick's 30 point performance came in an 85-74 win over a Nets squad that started Robert Hite at shooting guard and Marcus Williams at point guard. Hassan Adams, Josh Davis and Sean Williams started in the frontcourt for New Jersey. Considering that Redick's regular season single game scoring high was 16 points, one 30 point game--and a poor shooting one at that--against that crew hardly changes my opinion of Redick's prospects. Thorpe asserts that Redick is good at drawing fouls--he shot 12-12 from the free throw line versus New Jersey--but there is a difference between drawing fouls in the Pepsi League and drawing fouls in the NBA; Redick attempted just 60 free throws in 623 minutes as a rookie. For comparison's sake, consider that elite shooting guards like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade attempt more than twice as many free throw attempts per minute as Redick.
Redick scored 17 points on 5-12 field goal shooting in his second game, an 88-65 rout of the Indiana Pacers, who started Anthony Myles and Shawne Williams at guard and Andre Owens, Rashad Anderson and Stephen Graham in the frontcourt. In his third contest, a 95-77 loss to Charlotte, Redick scored 24 points on 9-14 shooting. Orlando trailed 29-15 in the first quarter and 51-37 at the half, so it is fair to suggest that many of Redick's points came in garbage time.
Redick has several things going in his favor this season: (1) the departure of Grant Hill gives him an opportunity to fight for more playing time; (2) new coach Stan Van Gundy appears to view Redick's game more favorably than previous coach Brian Hill did; (3) Redick is healthy; (4) players often make big improvements between their first and second seasons. If Redick is going to indeed become a significant member of Orlando's rotation--and not just practice fodder--then 2007-08 is the time for him to make his move. Redick will always have the ability to knock down open jumpers but I am still extremely skeptical that he can perform well enough in other areas to justify putting him on the court for 25-30 mpg. I certainly would need to see more than three decent performances against inferior competition to change my mind about that. It is true that some upcoming players made their names in summer league play but don't forget that guys like Sebastian Telfair and Luke Jackson have been summer league All-Stars too.
posted by David Friedman @ 1:20 AM