Why Clippers’ J.J. Redick is such a nightmare to defend


May 17, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick (4) drives the ball around Houston Rockets guard Jason Terry (31) during the fourth quarter in game seven of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. The Rockets defeated the Clippers 113-100 to win the series 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

J.J. Redick of the Los Angeles Clippers has always made a name for himself throughout his career as a sharpshooter. His deadly accuracy from beyond the arc has made him one of the best shooters in the league, and he was a vital factor in allowing the Clippers’ to have the best offensive rating in the league last season (109.8). However, there’s a far more to why Redick is such a nightmare to defend than his three pointer efficiency alone.

First off, his movement around the court makes it extremely difficult for defenders to keep up with him. Redick tirelessly runs around the perimeter, whether he takes the ball from Blake Griffin on hand-offs, ducks in and out of screens, cuts to the basket or does anything else he possibly can. He constantly looks to spread the opponent’s defense and create a shot opportunity, which makes it beyond tiring for defenders to keep him guarded.

To put that movement into context, Redick travelled 3.6 miles per 48 minutes with the Clippers last season, only o.2 miles less than the most active player in the league, Patty Mills.

When Redick is moving that much, and defenders already have to worry about the Clippers’ countless other offensive weapons, he can punish them in an instant when he gets the ball in his hands. He shot a career high 43.7 percent from three point range last season, and was prolific as not just a catch and shoot player, but as a pull-up shooter as well.

When it comes to making the most of easy catch and shoot opportunities, Redick is just a fraction away from being the best in the league. He recorded 8 catch and shoot points per game last season — just 0.5 less than first place Atlanta Hawks All-Star, Kyle Korver. Redick still ranked second, though, and used his catch and shoot opportunities to make up a fair amount of his career best 16.4 points per game.

If Redick gets a chance to stand still and spot up from deep, it’s even more unlikely he’ll miss. Yet, even when he catches the ball off quick passes and shoots immediately, he has an excellent ability to shoot whilst moving through the air — often by turning his body in the middle of his release before a defender is able to close him down.

Redick even has an impressive knack of burying mid-range jumpers off one foot from time to time as well. And when he starts doing that, there’s really no hope for defenders. Because seeing as he made 51.1 percent of his shots from 16 feet out to the three point line, it takes a constant defensive effort to try and slow him down.

When moving closer to the basket or using his dribble to create space, Redick utilizes his quick release and smooth pull-up shot to just as deadly effect. Last season, he made 47.4 percent of his pull-ups, which came largely from mid-range or from three point bombs in transition. Although, if Redick looks to create his own shot after surveying his options from the perimeter, his accuracy is still impeccable.

The fact that he made 39.6 percent of his pull-up threes last season is something that very few players can do. His shooting form, quick release, accuracy when smothered by defenders and ridiculous ability to shoot off-balance makes him almost impossible to stop when his shot starts falling.

It’s these attributes that are the main reason why he can shoot so well in so many tough situations.

Furthermore, it’s why he’s a better catch and shoot player than the beloved “Splash Brother” Klay Thompson (Redick had a catch and shoot percentage of 46.6, compared to Thompson’s 44.9).

More from Clipperholics

In the Clippers’ fast breaks, often led by elite floor general Chris Paul, Redick always looks to break away down court to get a three in transition. If the opportunity for him to cut to the basket arises, he’ll use his high IQ to find the right lane as the defense struggle to get in position. If not, it’s far too easy for him to wait on the perimeter and bury a three pointer.

Without J.J. Redick, the Clippers wouldn’t have been close to ranking third in three point percentage and three pointers made last season. He’s often perceived as someone who just has a reliable stroke from behind the arc, but there’s far more to his game than that.

From his near unparalleled movement around the perimeter, to his ability to bury contested shots, Redick isn’t just a prolific offensive weapon — he’s a seriously underrated one as well.

These are the real reasons why he’s such an nightmare for opponents to handle. And more importantly, he gives the Clippers a whole new dynamic to go along with the highlight dunks of “Lob City”.

All statistics via NBA.com Player Tracking.

Next: Can Lance Stephenson and Jamal Crawford co-exist in LA?