JJ Redick Arrives to Help Heal Mavericks Shooting Problems

The Dallas Mavericks needed more shots, so they traded in for one of the best shooters in the NBA. JJ Redick will now be lurking around the Mavericks’ perimeter as they seek home-court advantage in the playoffs. The Redick acquisition was a low-cost solution that improved the roster this year while maintaining offseason flexibility.

Redick burst onto the national scene as a freshman at Duke University when he scored 30 points in the ACC championship game. He quickly established himself as one of the best shooters in college basketball history (and one of its best heels). Redick is the third of all-time 3-pointers made in NCAA history, and is Duke’s all-time leading scorer. At one point in his college career, he hit an NCAA record of 54 straight free throws.

The Orlando Magic selected Redick with the 11th chosen in the 2006 draft, although some questioned whether he could remain in the NBA due to possible deficiencies in defense. However, Redick seemed to understand exactly what his role would be in the NBA. “I think I’ll be a role player like 80 percent of the league’s players are,” he told the Charlotte Observer in 2005. “I don’t expect to be a star, I’ll just shoot, I’ll be a team player.” That’s what that he has done for fourteen years.

Redick played his first two seasons in Orlando sparingly, but finally broke through in 2008-09, becoming a key part of a team that made it to the NBA Finals. The roster was built around Dwight Howard in the center and the lethal 3-point shots around him. Redick was a perfect fit. The Magic lost to the Lakers in the Finals, but Redick shot 40% from behind the arc. A few years later, Redick was sent to Milwaukee as part of a deal that included Tobias Harris going to Orlando.

Redick joined the Clippers as a free agent (although it was technically part of a three-team sign-and-trade deal) in 2013 and became a big part of Lob City’s career there. Redick played the best basketball of his career in Los Angeles, scoring nearly 16 points per game and shooting 44% of three during his four years there. In 2017, he signed a two-year deal with the 76ers and had a couple of deep playoff runs there.

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Surprising everyone at the time, Redick came to New Orleans in 2019 as a free agent, signing a two-year contract with the Pelicans. When the playoffs were missed last year, it was the first time Redick missed the postseason in his 13-year career.

Redick should feel right at home in Dallas. The Mavericks are fifth in the NBA in 3-point attempts, and Donnie Nelson didn’t make this deal to get Redick to play defense. He will be licensed to shoot as many 3s as he can. Redick is currently shooting 36% from deep, his lowest percentage since 2012-13, but playing Luka Doncic should help tremendously. The spacing in New Orleans has been bad all year as they have tried to find the most effective lineups around Zion Williamson.

Luka Doncic should create plenty of opportunities for Redick on the perimeter. Redick shoots 47% on open 3s, which the NBA defines as a shot taken when a defender is more than six feet away from the shooter. That’s a better shooting percentage on open shots than any of the RPGs the Mavericks are fielding right now. That’s not surprising when you consider Dorian Finney-Smith or Josh Richardson, who have had trouble shooting all year. But it’s better than more consistent shooters like Maxi Kleber and Tim Hardaway Jr.

Redick is shooting nearly 40% on catch-and-shoot 3s. You’ll get a steady diet of those attempts with the defense focusing on Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. The Mavericks are only shooting 37% on catch-and-shoot 3s, 15th in the NBA. Redick should help them make more of those shots, even though he’s not at Kleber’s level (almost 48%). Just because of his reputation as a shooter, Redick should open up the interior for the Mavericks on offense. Defenses won’t sink from him like they will Richardson or Finney-Smith.

There will be problems in defense, for sure. The Mavericks will have to come up with ways to hide him from bad shooters, and there may be matchups where Redick has a hard time getting minutes. And there’s the problem with his current heel injury. But overall, this should help the Mavericks. James Johnson and Wes Iwundu weren’t playing at all, and Redick brings a skill Dallas desperately needs. It won’t change their playoff destiny on its own, but the Mavericks are a better team going forward with the addition of Redick.

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