NBA Playoffs: Clippers’ J.J. Redick Can Punish The Spurs


J.J. Redick is the most efficient three-point marksman that the Los Angeles Clippers have at their disposal. Now, just in time for their first round match-up against the San Antonio Spurs, Redick’s proving his potential to cause some major damage.

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Over the seven games that the Clippers have played this April (they’ve won all of them) J.J. Redick has buried 22 three-pointers on 48.9 percent shooting from behind the arc. Which, as we reach the most important part of the year, is more than 4 percent better than the NBA’s three-point golden boy, Kyle Korver. In fact, Redick’s +/- during the Clippers’ current seven game win streak is +26.

Considering the fact he’s normally a distant after thought for most — due to the likes of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin — that’s pretty good to say the least.

Of course, it’s only been seven games, but J.J. Redick’s good form goes back further than that.

Throughout March, Redick maintained his hot shooting hand from deep, averaging 42.9 percent from three (which has helped him round off the most efficient year of his career from beyond the arc, with 43.7 percent). That alone has made him the Clippers’ most accurate sharpshooter.

But there’s more.

Over the last six weeks, J.J. Redick has been putting on a shooting clinic. Whether he’s been burying threes in transition or pulling up with his quick trigger from 18 feet, he’s poured in bucket after bucket. When it comes to catch-and-shoot opportunities (per, Redick is one of the best there is. And out of players who average at least 25 minutes a night, Redick is joint second (with Dirk Nowitzki) for catch-and-shoot points per game with 8.

To emphasise how he makes the most of such chances, he also has a better catch-and-shoot field goal percentage (46.6) than Danny Green, Klay Thompson, and even the three-point legend that is Stephen Curry himself.

Before looking further into how well Redick has played over the last six weeks, though, just see for yourself the efficiency at which he’s been shooting all season (via Austin Clemens and Nylon Calculus).

Essentially, J.J. Redick is way above average at nearly every position on the floor. His favourite spot is around the top of the three-point line, and many of those high percentage two pointers you see just inside the arc are made from quick pull-ups or Blake Griffin hand-offs. And even though the San Antonio Spurs have some excellent perimeter defenders in the form of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, they aren’t going to be able to deter Redick’s shot every time.

So when he finds a rhythm — which is only a matter of time at some point in this series — he could turn the tide of a game in a hurry.

Since the start of March, Redick has recorded nine games of 25+ points, to average just over 20 points per game from that date to the season’s end. As a result, his 20.6 points through March made it his best month of the entire year. This gave the Clippers an offensive rating of at least 118 whenever Redick has been on the floor over the last six weeks, which undoubtedly helped power the Clippers towards 14 wins in their last 15 games.

And with the first round of the playoffs kicking off for L.A. in just three days, the timing of Redick’s hot spell couldn’t be any better.

March 31, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick (4) controls the ball against Golden State Warriors during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

If J.J. Redick gets hot against the Spurs — at least hot enough to warrant man defense at times for them to avoid missing him in a zone — he can draw a defender further away from the basket. Even if this means Redick doesn’t get to shoot as often, this can still punish the Spurs. It will leave more space inside for Griffin to work in the post and avoid so many double teams, and more space for Paul to run effective pick-and-rolls.

Yes, the Spurs are an elite defensive team (they ranked 3rd in defensive efficiency this year), but when it comes to the playoffs, every shot counts. And three-pointers down the stretch can kill a team if they aren’t switched on at all moments. So for a Spurs team that ranked 27th in the league this year in opponent’s shooting percentage from 25 feet out, the long distance efficiency of the Clippers (who were 3rd in three-point percentage this season) could be a serious threat.

We saw Danny Green bury 27 threes in the 2013 Finals against the Miami Heat, and it was vital in allowing the Spurs to take LeBron James to seven games.

That Miami Heat team were an imposing defensive side as well, yet they still proved how easily you can be burned by threes in the playoffs. And J.J. Redick has this kind of Danny Green-esque potential.

All it takes is just a couple of lackadaisical seconds, and Redick and the Clippers can punish the Spurs from deep.

Next: NBA Playoffs: Clippers-Spurs Regular Season Series Review