Denton: Redick Talks Career Future (Part 2)


By John Denton
January 11, 2013

``Consistency is what you should be about as an athlete. The approach has to be there. If you respect the game and do things the right way, (the game) will take care of you and J.J. does that,’’ said Magic coach Jacque Vaughn, who always points out that he thinks every shot that leaves Redick’s hand will go in. ``Whether it’s putting his work in, his preparation, respecting his teammates or pushing them and himself, J.J. always does his part for us.’’

Redick said during tough times of this season, such as the current 10-game skid for the Magic (12-23) as they prepare to face the surging Los Angeles Clippers (28-8) on Saturday at Staples Center, he uses his early-career struggles to persevere.

A rookie in 2006, then-Magic coach Brian Hill rarely played Redick because he was a defensive liability and teams tended to go right at him as soon as he checked into games. And in 2007-08, he seemed to make little progress under first-year coach Stan Van Gundy and was often treated like ``Rudy’’ in the famous movie about the overachieving Notre Dame walk-on where he was cheered for in blowout finishes.

Redick was so broken by the lack of opportunities in those first two seasons that he once contemplated asking for a trade from the Magic. Ultimately, he stuck it out, went to work on his body and evolved into one of Van Gundy’s favorite and most-trusted players over the previous four seasons.

Now, in a year when Redick is averaging career-bests in minutes (31.3), scoring (14.5), rebounding (2.3) and assists (4.5) and is on pace to obliterate his previous high in 3-pointers made, Redick can bask in how far his career has evolved since those dark days in 2007 and ’08 when backpacking Europe didn’t seem like such a bad idea.

``It’s concrete testimony for me what God’s hand and hard work can do,’’ Redick said following a Magic workout at UCLA on Friday and some post-practice shooting drills with assistant coach Brett Gunning. ``If I’m in a difficult moment now, I can look back and think about the second year and going 11 games without playing. It was difficult career-wise, it was difficult mentally and emotionally.’’

Whereas Redick was worried about his NBA future a few years ago, he’s worried about a future of a different kind these days. Because of his steady growth as a player, his noted professionalism and his ability to both score and create for others, Redick figures to be a wanted man around the NBA around the trade deadline on Feb. 21. Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan doesn’t like discussing such matters publicly, but he’s admitted to Redick that several teams around the league have an active interest in trading for him in the right scenarios.

That is something the Magic are weighing with what Redick could potentially bring in return and his pending free agency in the offseason. If Redick leaves over the summer as an unrestricted free agent, the Magic likely wouldn’t get any compensation unless they were able to swing a sign-and-trade transaction.

Redick, 28, loves his increased role with the Magic where he is second on the team in shot attempts, fourth in scoring and fifth in minutes played. He still considers the Magic’s 2009 run to the NBA Finals his favorite memory in the NBA and he desperately wants to play for a championship contender again in the near future. How the Magic’s rebuilding plan figures into Redick’s future is yet to be determined.

``First of all, you have to hope that there’s another team that wants you because there are never any guarantees there,’’ Redick said. ``The way I approach things and the way I have been approaching things recently is to just focus on the day. I do feel overwhelmed at times if I try to picture myself a month from now (at the trade deadline) or six months from now in free agency. It’s just not worth worrying right now.

``At the (trade) deadline, maybe there’s an offer that (GM) Rob (Hennigan) has to consider. But I don’t get any indication from him that they are actively looking to move me,’’ Redick continued. ``So if I’m here past the deadline, that’s the first hurdle.

Then, you deal with free agency and what comes after the season.’’ Redick said there’s not a day that goes by that he doesn’t wonder what would happen to his life if he were traded away from the Magic. After all, it’s the only professional franchise that he’s ever played for. But he did spend last summer living in New York City and he recently purchased an offseason home in Austin, Texas, to somewhat prepare him in case he has to move on from Orlando.

``You have to prepare for different scenarios, you really do,’’ Redick admitted. ``It’s just human nature so that you’re not as shocked or as emotional if something happens. Things happen quickly in this league. I’ve seen it happen to a lot of former teammates and you just never know.’’

What the Magic do know is that they will continue to ride Redick as long as he is wearing blue, black and silver pinstripes. Redick, who had 29 points and six 3-pointers Monday in Portland and 17 points and four 3-pointers Wednesday in Denver, ranks fifth in the NBA in scoring among reserves. Only New York’s J.R. Smith (17.1 ppg.), Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (16.3 ppg.), Oklahoma City’s Kevin Martin (15.3 ppg.) and Atlanta’s Lou Williams (15.1 ppg.) rank ahead of Redick in production off the bench.

He’s become such a force offensively – he has nine 20-point games and nine times he’s led the Magic in assists – that he’s often at the top of opposing team’s scouting reports. Boston’s Doc Rivers said that Redick was absolutely ``what makes (the Magic) go,’’ and Denver’s George Karl pointed to Redick as the player that the Nuggets had to stop to beat Orlando.

Getting to this point, where he is the primary talking point on a team’s scouting report, is quite a climb for Redick from the days when he couldn’t even get on the floor.

``It’s obviously a compliment to hear other coaches say that. For me, I don’t really worry about that because that’s not something that should be on my radar,’’ Redick said somewhat sheepishly. ``My concern is trying to help us win games. But if I’m the No. 1 or No. 2 guy on the scouting report then obviously I’m doing something right.’’

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