Denton: Redick Talks Career Future


By John Denton
January 11, 2013

LOS ANGELES – At his lowest moments, when he would sometimes go weeks without playing and embarrassingly had to endure chants from fans that he be inserted at the end of lopsided games like some sort of human victory cigar, Orlando Magic shooting guard J.J. Redick contemplated a humbling career change.

It was five years ago, and Redick – once college basketball’s most potent and decorated player – could barely get on the floor for the Magic. He played just 42 games as a rookie and his playing time actually fell that second season, lending to the belief that Redick was on the fast track to becoming a first-round bust in Orlando.

That lack of immediate success did quite a number on Redick, a professed planner and control freak. In those stretches when he was the last player on the bench and was only used in break-glass-if-necessary scenarios, Redick fretted for hours on end about what the future held for him.

``I didn’t know if my future was in the NBA. Trust me, I went through the mental checklist of worst-case scenarios,’’ Redick remembered, still somewhat shaken by the dark moments from 2008. ``(Magic point guard) Jameer (Nelson) always jokes with me, `Didn’t you once say that you wanted to backpack Europe as your profession?’ So there were some times there that were really tough for me. But now it’s a testament to hard work, perseverance and trusting in God’s plan.’’

Fast forward to this season and it’s hard to believe that Redick – easily one of the NBA’s best reserves and most lethal shooters from 3-point range – was once on the doorstep of being shoved out of the NBA. But he avoided that fate by being proactive and putting in the work that helped him resurrect his career.

A tireless worker in the offseason, Redick dramatically changed his body by adding more lean muscle and foot quickness. Those improvements made him adequate defensively and tougher running off screens. Add those facets with a jump shot that always was and still is a thing of beauty, and Redick has evolved into one of Orlando’s most consistent weapons.

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