JJ Redick: His Time Has Finally Come

Tommy MarcusCorrespondent IMarch 12, 2010

ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 14:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and J.J. Redick #7 of the Orlando Magic walk up court in Game Five of the 2009 NBA Finals on June 14, 2009 at Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida.  The Lakers won 99-86.  NOTE TO USER:  User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

When JJ Redick left Duke University, he left as one of the greatest college basketball players of all time. Among his plethora of awards, he was a 2-time recipient of the ACC Player of the year, a Naismith player of the year, and had received the John Wooden Award. JJ Redick was as well known, and hated, as any other athlete in America. 

Entering the 2006 NBA Draft, there was some controversy in the air over JJ Redick. He had just received a DUI, and there were rumors that his back issues would keep him from being a successful pro player. There were far more doubters than supporters for JJ Redick in the NBA. Among all of this, JJ Redick was drafted 11th overall in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic

His professional career began. 

In JJ Redick's first professional season, he started out his career as one of the middle players off of the bench, averaging 6 points per game in about 14 minutes a game. This was far from his stardom days in college, and the doubters were starting to look like they were right. The next year, in 2007, JJ's career in the NBA took a turn for the worst. He was rarely seen off the bench, only playing 8.1 minutes per game, and averaged only 4.1 PPG, which was a far cry from even his rookie season. It was starting to look like he couldn't amount to anything in the NBA.

In 2008, he started to get more minutes, but still wasn't scoring like he should be, or doing anything as well as his fans expected for that matter. He got up to 17.4 minutes per game, but only averaged 6.0 PPG, not what was expected of him. 

Enter the 2009-2010 NBA season. JJ is a new player. He is averaging 9.2 PPG in 21.8 minutes per game, and Stan Van Gundy has called him the "best defender" on the team and the player he looks to most off of the bench. Just last night, JJ Redick had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and a block in 35 minutes of play. He is finally getting the time he deserves in the NBA to prove that he is a serious player. 

It is very apparent how hard JJ Redick has been working to get to the level he is now on in the NBA. He has gained a lot of weight, has much more muscle than he did back in his college days, and is an all-around complete player who went from being called a "liability" on defense going into the draft to someone Van Gundy now counts on for solid defense off the bench. At one point in the season, Magic fans would boo when Vince Carter came in and cheer when JJ came in. JJ is getting time in critical moments of games - something that he hadn't been getting before that. 

Although he has still got a lot of work to do to get to a level where he can start in the NBA, the constant hard work and persistence of has really paid off, as his career is taking a turn for the best, and his work ethic and success in the NBA is starting to finally get acknowledged. 

Prior to the 2008 season, I wrote an article on here about how JJ Redick wasn't getting the playing time he deserved, and how Van Gundy wasn't using him in the right ways. A year and a half later, I can finally take back my words and say that JJ is being used the way he should be and is finally becoming the player we all expected him to become.

Congratulations, JJ, you're now a professional basketball player. And it's been a long time coming.

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