JJ Redick is the all time leading scorer in ACC history (one of the premier conferences in college basketball) and he is also the all time three point champion in conference history. He is in the top 10 in both of these categories in the NCAA. Not to mention, he also has one of the best free throw percentages in NCAA history. So why aren't the Magic using this kid?
One of the knocks on him is that he is not a great defender. This is the NBA we're talking about. There are really only a handful of players that play defense. There are plenty of guys out there that make their living as shooters. If the Magic want to become a lock down defensive team that's fine, trade Redick to someone that needs a shooter for a better defender.
When he was at Duke he wasn't asked (or needed) to be a great defender. He had Sheldon Williams behind him along with Daniel Ewing and several other solid defenders. He was asked to be a scorer and that's what he did. That's like saying Alex Ovechkin would be an even better hockey player if he played more defense. No one wants to see him blocking shots; they want to see him sliding on his back scoring goals. Redick is a lights out shooter and there are teams that need that.
I'm not sure about this past season, but I do know that his rookie year they ranked near the bottom of the league in both three pointers and free throw percentage. These are his wheelhouse. When you're ranked near the bottom in those categories and you have a guy that excels at both, how do you keep him on the bench?
I've been a Duke fan since Johnny Dawkins was a sophomore. I live in Maryland and get a lot of grief for that. For some reason people in this state think that the Terps are Duke's rival. That's a whole other article.
Anyway, I watched Redick go from a scorer to a pure shooter over the four years he was at Duke. During his freshman year he was purely a three point threat. Then he learned how to get himself free with or without the ball and became a better shooter from inside. Then everyone said he couldn't drive the lane and score under the basket. Well he took that criticism and worked hard to prove everyone wrong and became a threat from the entire floor.
I'm not saying that he can be an All Star, but I think he could be a really good role player for someone. He thrived on the animosity of the fans everywhere he went. I think he thrives on being told he can't do something or that he lacks in some area. He uses it as motivation and in college it worked well for him. In the pros he hasn't been given the chance.
He has recently been requesting to be played or traded. Some people may see this as being a primadonna, but I disagree. It would be easy to say shut up, enjoy your money and your court side seat, but he wants to play and what is wrong with that? He is extremely passionate about the game like Kevin Garnett. OK, before you get all fired up, I'm not comparing him to KG in any way except that they both wear their emotions on their "sleeve" on the court. They are both fierce competitors and great floor leaders.
The Magic keep saying he is valuable to the team. The Magic used a first round pick on him, 11th overall. They must have thought he had potential to be a good player at the next level. This season they drafted some more guards and signed Mickael Pietrus. They keep stating that he has value to the team, but they won't let him play.
In the two seasons he's been in the league he has only played in 76 games. That's not even a complete season. When he's been given some minutes he's proved that he can score in the league. He had 18 in a game against the Wizards when he got to play 24 minutes. The game prior he had 11 points in 12 minutes.
This is the final year on his rookie contract. He needs to play in order for scouts to be able to see him and decide if he could fit into their system. It's obvious the Magic don't want him so I'll reiterate his sentiments and plead with them to either play him or trade him.