Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Adoration for JJ Redick

It's better late than never to be viewed as a hot commodity. It's taken 6 years, but JJ Redick has never been as respected in the NBA as he is currently. The mass media has noticed. The praise from teammates past and present is infinite. That's why Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan has a lot to contemplate when it comes to whether or not he should treat Redick like stock and sell high by dealing him, or retain JJ as a foundation piece. It seems like half the league is rumored to be wanting to acquire the services of the 6'4" guard. 'Redickulous' is near the top of the 6th Man of the Year candidate list for obvious reasons. Hardwood Paroxysm just did an extensive Q & A piece with Mr. Redick. I fully recommend the read.

We're about one-third of the way through his 7th season, and Redick is averaging career-highs across the board including points (14.0) and assists (4.9). He's putting up a career-best 44.4 FG% despite a pro worst 35.2 3-point percentage. He still deserves to be in ONE All-Star Weekend 3-point contest. It's repetitive to keep hawking this, but Redick isn't a chucker. He drive and cuts into the paint. He's knocking down Ray Allen-like curling jumpers. He's the second-best passer on the roster behind just Jameer Nelson. JJ is a huge reason why Orlando is overachieving at this moment. Let's just say Redick is worthy of his $6.1 million he's raking in this season. He's not one of Jacque Vaughn's captains, but JJ doesn't need to be handed that title to act like a constant leader on and off the court. All of Redick's interviews this season, including the one below, have always included a dose of high basketball IQ and a hint of JJ's witty personality.


Redick joined David Baumann's radio show a few days ago to discuss about his future and address his potential free agency. Redick was very open about denying a HoopsHype report and discussing the overall process of his potential free agency. He can't be extended. If he finishes out the season in Orlando, Redick will be a free agent. JJ is a consummate professional. He knows the benefits and consequences of being traded to another city. The man wants to win a championship. Can that eventually be accomplished here? I think based on Redick's attitude and the way he's carried himself as a leader that the answer is 'yes'. 

A few days ago, Mr. Redick took part in the first Orlando Magic 'Google Hangout' where JJ answered questions and interacted with fans. There's a lot of Duke and Roanoke, Virginia chatter, there's a decent amount of charity talk that reveals JJ's softer side. There are some extra intriguing responses though. At the 7:30 mark, Redick was asked which player past or present he wanted to play with on a team together. JJ's response was LeBron James.

"I think he's great at making his teammates better...I would hope, that if I ever got the chance to play with him, that he'd do that for me too."

Read into that however you want. JJ also mentioned his best NBA shot to date was this beauty that sent Game 4 of last season's playoffs against the Pacers to overtime. I get a chuckle out of Redick not even mentioning Brian Hill's name when it came to overcoming adversity. The Magic organization is listening to me, because I did wish for this franchise to be more socially accessible. It's happening thanks to Twitter chats, this Google Hangout, and more behind-the-scenes footage being filmed in series such as 'Rise of the Rookies'.

Going back to the topic of JJ, he's maybe the largest attraction in this Orlando area when it comes to selling merchandise and contributing to the filling of those Amway Center seats. Redick does consider Orlando his home and his giving back to the community is a major indicator of that. It's near impossible for someone to have lived in Orlando over the last 6 years and not seen JJ somewhere around town. He's long embraced the City Beautiful. All Magic fans want Redick to be re-signed and stay in Orlando, but they know that situation may not be in the franchise's future salary cap clearing plans.

No matter what happens with JJ, he'll always have the love and support of Magic fans. We've seen JJ go from struggling to survive in the league to now being a 28-year-old consistent contributor with still a ceiling to grow in all game facets. Redick is a superb athlete, a brilliant mind who can go into coaching when he retires, and is someone who has busted his tail and continuously works hard enough to be worthy of being called a champion.

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