Denton: Redick's Constant Improvement a Testament to His Work Ethic (Part 2)
Gushed Boston coach Doc Rivers on Sunday night before Redick burned the Celtics for 21 points: ``They don’t have the one guy on this (Magic) team that you have to stop every night, but if I had to pick one guy it’s J.J. Redick. I think he’s what makes them go.’’
Redick’s 14.8 points per game scoring average ranks fifth in the NBA among reserves, trailing only L.A.’s Jamal Crawford (18 ppg.), Charlotte’s Ramon Sessions (16.4 ppg.), Oklahoma City’s Kevin Martins (15.7 ppg.) and Sacramento’s Marcus Thornton (15 ppg). (Former Magic forward Ryan Anderson, now with New Orleans, is averaging 17.7 points per game, but he’s started seven games, while coming off the bench in six games). However, none of the high-scoring reserves ahead Redick are averaging at least five assists a game.
Redick’s numbers compare favorably to those of Ginobili, who at 35 years old is in his 11th season with the Spurs. Ginobili is averaging 11.2 points a game and looks to create for others much the same way that Redick does with his 4.1 assists a night.
Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn, who played with Ginobili and coached him the past two seasons as an assistant in San Antonio, wanted nothing to do with comparisons between the two players. After all, such a comparison wouldn’t be fair to either player considering that Ginobili is much deeper into his career and has been a part of three championship teams and a gold medal-winning squad for Argentina.
Vaughn says that Redick could start for a variety of teams in the NBA, but he uses him off the bench – much in the way that San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich does with Ginobili – to balance out the scoring on the first and second units.
``I think the dynamic was to seek what was the more efficient lineup for us,’’ Vaughn said of his reasoning for using Redick in a reserve role. ``It’s weighted in (Redick’s) direction of where the ball is going to go to with the second group and that’s no big secret. That’s why the whole dynamic of his starting and not starting is present.’’
Redick, who started four games while the Magic were without point guard Jameer Nelson because of a groin injury, said he could care less whether he starts of comes off the bench. But he did admit that there’s a vastly different dynamic between the two because of the differences in mentality he must have. As a starter, he’s more of a shooter, while he’s more of a playmaker when with the second unit.
Just as he learned from other great shooting guards in the NBA, Redick is trying to pass on some of the knowledge that he has attained to promising Magic rookie Maurice Harkless. Harkless, 19, is usually paired with Redick in shooting drills and the two push each other with intense competitions.
Said Redick: ``It’s something that he wants to do and something that I certainly don’t mind. I like getting my work in and if somebody wants to tag along great. And he’s someone you want tagging along because he goes hard and he takes it seriously.’’
As for further emulating Ginobili and possibly winning the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award this season, Redick said he doesn’t like his chances. He feels that he’s been overlooked for things such as 3-point competitions and individual awards for years, and not even a Twitter campaign (@RedickForThree) can help him now. His only concern, he stressed, is helping the Magic win.
``I’ve given up hope on that, man. Listen, if they weren’t going to invite me when I shot the best (3-point) percentage of my career last year and (the All-Star Game) was in my hometown … I’ve given up hope,’’ Redick said of his 41.8 3-point percentage last season. ``Frankly, I don’t think I’ll ever get that kind of recognition and that’s just fine by me. My thing is just trying to figure out how we can win ball games. That’s been my focus and any frustration I’ve had is because we’ve lost. I don’t care about starting or coming off the bench or anything like that. To me, whatever role I’m in I’m going to try to help us win.’’
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