The Los Angeles Clippers' starting shooting guard is a bit of a mystery. His innocuous physique and playing style have confused opponents for years, but after Blake Griffin went down with a quadricep injury last month, J.J. Redick has been on fire.
On the season, Redick is shooting an unbelievable 47.7% from behind the arc. To put that into perspective, Steph Curry, also known as Basketball’s First Born Son, is shooting a mere 45.5%. To be fair, it is necessary to admit that Curry shoots far more three-pointers and is currently at 213 made threes on the year versus Redick’s paltry 115. Redick’s sharpshooting efficiency is magnified when compared to his previous output. Redick’s shooting percentage from behind the arc has increased each year for the last five years in a row and he continues to get better and more accurate.
To be more Clippers’ centric, Redick is an extremely important and integral member of the Clippers’ offense. According to ESPN’s Offensive Real Plus-Minus statistic, Redick is fifth overall for shooting guards with a 2.87 which puts him ahead of players like perennial all-star Dwyane Wade. When Redick scores 20 or more points in a game, the Clippers hold a 10-1 record. For a stretch of January, he averaged 51% from the field, 53.7% from three point territory, and 93.1% at the free throw line. Those are some numbers that make your mouth salivate.
Redick’s career game recently against the Houston Rockets. Houston, which has been a headache for Los Angeles fans since last year’s playoffs when they came back from a 3-1 game deficit to win the series, has won the two team’s six previous outings. When the Rockets and Clippers met on Jan. 18th, J.J. Redick dropped a career-high 40 points, including 9 three-pointers. The 9 three-pointers tied a franchise high but fell three short of a league record (held by Kobe Bryant and Donyell Marshall).
Redick’s efficient shooting has had other perks for the Clippers as well. During his hot streak defenders have made the (probably wise) decision to double-team him. This inevitably still helps the Clippers score because Redick always moves the ball quickly to help the team when a second defender covers him.
In summary: the Clippers continue to fight hard in games which are almost always close. Their ability to win is founded upon the efficient shooting and scoring of their guards and the ability of DeAndre Jordan to rebound and jam lobs into next week. That said, the strength of the Clippers’ starting squad is unassailable, it is the depth of its bench that is questionable and, with the trade of Josh Smith to Houston for pennies, continues to be questionable.