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J.J. Redick’s NBA career began as pretty ho-hum. What in the world has happened over the past few seasons as he has moved toward age 30?
it’s something that we, here in Eastern Time, could completely miss.
I’m talking about the scoring line for one NBA basketball player in one mid-January night game that took place on the West Coast while we were all asleep and the newspaper was long-since put to bed.
“Redick’s career-high 40 help Clippers beat Rockets in OT,” read the AP headline on ESPN.go.com.
It’s emblematic of the steady and occasionally spectacular rise of one J.J. Redick, who, you’ll remember, graduated from Cave Spring High in 2002, having led the Knights to a state championship with 42 points against George Wythe High of Richmond.
After a four-year stay at Duke, where he set numerous team and NCAA records, and averaged 26.8 points per game in his National Player of the Year senior season, he was drafted 11th overall in the NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic, despite fears that at 6’4” and well under 200 pounds, he was a little small and a little under-athletic to be effective in a league where in 2002 the average player size was 6’6” and 222 pounds.
Even Redick himself seemed resigned: “I think I’ll be a role player like 80 percent of the players in the league are. I don’t expect to be a star, I’ll just shoot, be a team player,” he told the Charlotte Observer.
And indeed, over the first five years of his career, he toiled as the second or third shooting guard for the Magic, starting just 19 games over those five seasons, though he did play in all 82 games in his fourth season.
And after averaging a little over 5 points a game over his first four seasons, Redick’s points per game have gone this way:
2015-16: 16.4 (through Feb. 16)
And since being traded to those left-coast Los Angeles Clippers before the 2013-14 season, he has started (again, as of January 19) 144 of the 145 games in which he has played.
No, J.J. Redick has not quite become a star. But he has become a reliable, consistent, solid NBA starter with a notable specialty: shooting the basketball.