After sending away their disgruntled superstar via trade, the Orlando Magic are looking to a Dwight Howard-less future. The rebuilding process is still under construction, but with players like Nikola Vucevic and Arron Afflalo to focus around, the future is bright. Through all the adversity that may follow, guard J.J. Redick must be forgotten as a trade chip and regarded as a cornerstone to the franchise.
Redick was drafted 11th overall by the Magic back in 2006 and never really lived up to the hype of his college career. Duke's all-time leading scorer has averaged 9.1 points per game over his career and has been a long-range threat throughout. Redick's 40.2 career percentage from three-point range has kept him a valuable commodity in Orlando, and with coach Jacque Vaughn taking over the reins, should be for much longer.
For his career, Redick has averaged just 21.7 minutes per game. However, under a new coach this season, his time in the rotation has spiked to a career-high 31.6 per game. Alongside this, Redick is scoring 15.3 points on 46.3 percent shooting (41.3 percent from beyond the arc), which tops his best 11.6 PPG average from last season.
His playmaking has him dishing out averages of 4.4 dimes with two turnovers, which isn't stellar, yet has him alongside guards like Damian Lillard, Manu Ginobili and Mario Chalmers in terms of assist-to-turnover ratio. If Redick can improve this aspect of his game, he could become invaluable to the team as a scorer and distributor.
There has been talk of a possible trade to Boston, however the Magic front office needs to rid themselves of such discussions. While it may have taken a few seasons for Redick to adjust, he is beginning to showcase the skill he was originally hyped to possess.
He is averaging 17.6 points in January on 51.4 and 50 percent from the field and from three, respectively.
Redick has been hitting clutch three-pointers for Orlando, doing all he can to drag his team out of the mire of a five-game losing streak. Despite losing each game by an average of 6.2 points, the 2-guard has averaged 20.4 points in that five-game stretch on 56.7 percent shooting, along with a ridiculous 60.6 percent from long-range including an 8-of-11 three-point night against Detroit.
The Magic are amidst a rebuilding process which will be just as arduous and disheartening. There is a number of overpriced salaries that should be cleared, as a team with a 14-29 record should not have a $64.1 million payroll. Redick's $6.19 million might be glaring amongst a group of rookie-scale deals, but his recent play makes it well worth it to keep him around.
Signing the guard to an extension should be Orlando's immediate priority. Redick is in his seventh NBA season, and not only would he serve as a loyal and valuable contributor, but an experienced veteran for the younger players as well. The Magic need all the help they can get going forward, and Redick's presence as a lethal shooter should be welcomed with open arms.