The Continued Maturation of JJ Redick
No longer a one-trick pony.
If basketball fans are skimming through box scores and headlines what they’ll notice about JJ Redick’s game on Sunday was his career-high 27 points.
Sure, a career-high in scoring is noteworthy, but his scoring exploits only tell a small part of the story of his growth as a player. What will likely be lost in the shuffle are the 6 he hauled in or the 5 dimes he dished out.
Not only that, but after the game his head coach called him tough.
“I’ve said all along that he is a guy you can trust and count on,” Stan Van Gundy gushed after a big win against Toronto. “He’s not always going to get 45-plus minutes like he did tonight, but he played great, great basketball tonight. He’s off to a great start this year with 6 rebounds and 5 assists tonight and 5 rebounds against Jersey. He’s a tough guy who will get in and throw his body around. He’s just somebody as a coach you really like and can trust.”
Earning his coaches trust hasn’t been an easy thing to do. In fact, it’s been a slow and painful process for a player who the game had come easy for until he reached the NBA.
As a rookie he averaged 14.8 minutes only to see that drop in his second season to 8.1 minutes. His minutes increased to 17.4 last season and through the first two games of the season he was averaging 25.5 minutes.
A big reason for his increase in minutes this season is due to things clicking during the Playoffs last season.
“I think the experience of last year’s playoffs has given me a good perspective on things,” Redick explained after the game. “It’s given me a lot of patience and taught me about being ready. Plus, the experience of starting eight playoff games and playing in the NBA Finals game me a lot of confidence coming into this year.”
While the minutes and experiences in the Playoffs last season increased his confidence, it’s been his maturation into a more complete player that has helped him earn some minutes. Every shooter in the NBA has nights where their shots just won’t fall so they need to be able to do more than just hit jumpers to earn consistent minutes.
Redick seems to have embraced the idea of doing the little things like making the extra pass, helping out on the glass and playing gritty defense.
In fact, after the game against Toronto he showed more pride in his rebounds and assists than he did in setting a career-high with 27 points.
“Starting even last year Stan put me in situations coming off pick-and-rolls where I’m coming off screens looking to get an assist,” a modest Redick explained. “I had five assists today and defensively I think I’ve gotten better. Obviously 6 defensive rebounds is a good contribution and that is something I made a point of doing today.”
When Van Gundy hears that he’ll be elated because after three seasons of having Redick basically languish on his bench Redick has transformed from a notorious gunner into a multi-dimensional player that shows more pride in doing dishing out 5 assists and grabbing 6 rebounds than scoring a career-high 27 points.
Not bad for a player who came into the NBA known as being strictly a shooter.