I’ve been following J.J. Redick’s career ever since he played in College (Duke). At the time, he was downright a superstar over there. Think about it : the guy finished all-time leading scorer in Duke and the ACC, and even breaking the NCAA record for career 3 points made. He was typically a white basketball player: not very athletic, but very smart on the court with a great shooting skill… and without any tatooes! Plus, he stayed at the Uni until he was 22, and graduated suma cum laude. There’s a great deal of uneducated gangsta rappers-hiphop-oriented inhabiting the NCAA and the NBA, so it was kind of refreshing to see that.
Anyway, Redick subsequently got drafted by Orlando in ’06 (11th overall pick!) but his first two NBA seasons in the League turned out to be a tough experience. Saying he didn’t live up to the expectations is an understatement.
Two years ago, just before the draft I kept thinking his skinny frame and his lack of athletism would be a major concern for his upcoming NBA career. Transitionning from College to the NBA isn’t an easy task so if you don’t beef up your body, you’re asking for trouble. That’s just the way it is.
You can’t only rely on your shooting skills forever : if it’s more than enough in College, being physically gifted is a mandatory condition to succeed in NBA. I remember reading press clippings dealing with how much Orlando staff kept warning him about that issue but he never really paid attention to it, probably thinking his shooting abilities will eventually do the trick, like it always did.
Redick was proved wrong and obviously he started to take the bull by the horn this summer, well aware his NBA career might be in jeopardy. By all accounts, he showed up much more sturdy at the Orlando Magic media day this week. I was stunned to learn that. Everybody noticed his frame was much more heavy. It’s about time! Redick finally added muscles to his slender frame. The guy seems more aware of what being an NBA player really takes.
He’s about to start his third year in the League, so I guess it’s probably one of his latest shots to make it. That being said if being physically more strong will be helpful, for some reason it won’t be enough.
Time has passed since College and after spending 2 years with a tiny playing time, he’s probably lost some confidence in his game. He needs to retrieve some sensations on the court. Plus, Orlando roster is overloaded at the guard position: rookie Courtney Lee is expected to have an impact quite quickly, Mike Pietrus will bring his energy and his tough defense, and Keith Bogans still sticks around. He’d be better off in a team that really needs him, and the best thing for him would be to be traded, but Orlando staff is reluctant to do that. But a season is quite long, and he’ll get an opportunity. He’ll just have to be ready at the right moment.
Anyway I’m eager to see how Redick is gonna cope with that. He was a superstar in College. He underachieved so far. Now is the time for him to have a breakout season, maybe his final shot… How is he gonna handle the pressure? I’m lookin’ forward to it, be sure I’m gonna keep a close eye on his plight !