How J.J. Redick Impacts the Los Angeles Clippers and the NBA Playoffs
Lou has been lighting up the East all season. But, while he's been doing his own thing off the bench, J.J. Redick has been scorching the West in his own way.
Now, J.J. isn't a sixth man and he doesn't come off the bench for Doc Rivers. That's Jamal Crawford's job. But who does Crawford enter the game for the majority of the time? None other than J.J. Redick.
So maybe we can't quantify or qualify exactly what a Fifth Man of the Year would be, but J.J. Redick seems like he'd fit the bill.
He isn't often spoken of, is caught in the shadow of three fellow starters -- star players Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and DeAndre Jordan -- and is usually the first starter to head to the bench (for rotation purposes at least).
If the NBA gave out a Fifth Man of the Year award, you'd have to think Redick would at least be in the running if not the leader of the pack.
A Career Year
First and foremost, Mr. Redick is having a career year. He is well above his career averages in several categories.
In 30.9 minutes per game, Redick is averaging a career-best 16.4 points on some superb shooting.
This should help show you just how great a season Redick's having shooting the rock.
If you thought shooting 44.1% from the floor and 40.0% from three, with an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 54.0% was really good, then what has J.J. Redick been this year? He's improved each of those numbers by at least 3.5% percent, which most notably adds up to a ridiculous 43.7% from three.
Even more impressive is the fact that J.J.'s averaged the most field goal attempts per game (12.0) in his career this season. He hasn't improved his shooting percentages by being selective. He's improved them by being a ridiculous good shooter from the field and a marksman from deep.
That's exactly how J.J. Redick has proven his value to this Clipper team all season long.
He's third on the team with an Offensive Rating of 118, trailing only Paul and Griffin, and his Offensive Box Plus/Minus of 3.4 is second on the team, trailing only Paul (7.5). He's also tallied a total of 5.8 Offensive Win Shares to go along with a Player Efficiency Rating of 16.2 and a True Shooting Percentage of 62.2% (second on the team).
Due to his improved shooting and highly efficient scoring, Redick sports a nERD of 4.9, which is good enough for fourth on the team -- behind the three aforementioned superstars. He's the biggest contributor outside LAC's "big three."
For his 2015 standards, J.J. really struggled in Game 1 against the Spurs. He scored a mere 10 points on 4 of 13 shooting and 2 of 6 from beyond the arc -- both percentages falling below his season averages.
But, while Redick may have had his own personal struggles offensively, we all know basketball is a team sport. So while Redick may be unsatisfied with his below average shooting and lack of offensive impact in the stat sheet, I'm sure he also knows that the only number that matters is 1 -- 1 win to San Antonio's 0.
And Redick should also know then that his team couldn't have taken Game 1 without him.
He was a big influence on the floor. His improved scoring ability forced Pop to start Kawhi on him the first quarter which allowed Chris Paul to start the game unencumbered by Leonard's length and athleticism on the perimeter. Instead, he was chasing Redick around screens and expending valuable energy.
Before you could Tweet about the strategy, Danny Green found himself trailing Redick around the baseline and avoiding picks from Jordan and Griffin. This commands a lot of energy, and as a result, played part in Green's own poor shooting game. Green shot a lousy 2 of 11 from the field including 1 of 7 from three point land.
Redick might not have gotten his in Game 1, but he used his talents and influence in order to gain a 1-0 advantage over the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. That's nothing of little note. But what about going forward in the series?
Expect more of the same -- and if he's not influencing the series, J.J. can directly impact it as the key third scorer and fire starter for his Clippers.
According to NBA.com, Redick is 13th in the league in first quarter scoring with 6.5 points per game.
That's not bad company.
In fact, that's MVP company. So maybe I'm not wrong in saying that J.J. Redick is the best fifth man in the league.