Denton: Redick Had Big Impact on Magic's Young Players

By John Denton
April 10, 2013

ORLANDO – J.J. Redick is long gone from the Orlando Magic, but the distinct impact that he had with his professionalism and work ethic live on in the team’s young players today.

Redick, who spent 7 ½ seasons with the Magic before being traded to Milwaukee on Feb. 21, returns to Orlando tonight with the Bucks to face the Magic at 7 p.m.

Before he was traded to Milwaukee, Redick was in the midst of a career year with the Magic while averaging 15.1 points and 4.4 assists a game. As one of the team’s veteran players, Redick also evolved into more of a leader earlier this season and he had a distinct impact on Orlando’s gaggle of rookies and second-year players.

``He’s a real professional and he took his job really seriously, and me being 19 years old coming in and seeing that, it helped me a lot,’’ Magic rookie Maurice Harkless said. ``(Redick) showed me how important it was to work hard and prepare every day.’’

The Magic (19-59) are back at home following their longest road trip of the season – a five-game, 10-day excursion to Atlanta, Houston, San Antonio, Chicago and Cleveland. The Magic led both the Bulls and Cavaliers after the first, second and third quarters only to come up short in the fourth period in frustrating losses. Magic coach Jacque Vaughn has been on his team about the need to execute on both ends of the floor in crunch time.

``The game becomes a little different as the fourth quarter rolls around and 5 minutes (remaining) rolls around,’’ Vaughn said. ``If I miss a box out in the first quarter it might not have the same ramifications if miss out a box out in the fourth quarter and the ball gets kicked out for a three. We want to be consistent where it matters just as much in the first quarter as it does in the fourth. But being able to hone in and lock your mind into games every possession is critical late in games.’’

Redick and the Bucks lost 94-83 in Miami on Tuesday night. The reserve shooting guard had just six points and four assists as he made two of nine shots and two 3-pointers. In 23 games with the Bucks, Redick has averaged 11.9 points and 2.7 assists, but his field goal percentage (41.2 percent) and 3-point shooting (33.6 percent) have dipped from his time in Orlando.

Redick said last month that it would be ``strange’’ playing in the Amway Center, the place where he was universally cheered and experienced many of the best moments of his career. Longtime Magic teammate Jameer Nelson, who will not play tonight because of a sprained ankle, said on Tuesday that Redick should receive a standing ovation from Magic fans.

Redick could be greeted in similar fashion from Magic players who still practice some of the habits taught to them by the sweet-shooting guard. Second-year Magic center Nikola Vucevic, who is coming off a 21-point, 21-rebound performance on Sunday in Cleveland, said Redick’s impact on the Magic is still felt today.

``J.J. is a hard worker. He was only here a couple of months (of this season), but we definitely learned a lot from him,’’ Vucevic said. ``We learned from his work ethic, how to prepare for games and how to focus on opponents. He was a really good leader for us.’’

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