Los Angeles Clippers: The vitality of J.J. Redick

Dec 19, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick (4) dribbles against Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) in the second half at Toyota Center. Rockets won 107 to 97. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 19, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick (4) dribbles against Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) in the second half at Toyota Center. Rockets won 107 to 97. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan are always talked about, but it’s time to discuss the unsung hero of the Los Angeles Clippers heading into a contract year: J.J. Redick.

Many people are aware of the legacy that the Knights of the Round Table established with a culture of humility, nobleness, and sternness. However, most of the population is only able to recall the two torchbearers, King Arthur and Sir Lancelot, that are a part of the historic table. In this instance, the important pieces that open the gateway to progression are lost in translation due to the highly touted forerunners of the entity. This same situation has been revolving around the Los Angeles Clippers, with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul being the two superstars.

However, J.J. Redick is the important piece that the team so dearly needs.

Three years ago, the Clippers acquired sharpshooter Redick. In this short amount of time, he has become the most important complimentary asset for the team’s ability to become a dominant force in the Western Conference. Many different contributions distinguish Redick from most players in the NBA.

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Redick has forged himself as one of the Clippers’ most important offensive player in his short time with the team. This comes through multiple lenses that aid all basketball enthusiasts in appreciating the truly expert craft of this player.

The Art of Spacing

The inspiring play of Paul, Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan is something that can’t be replaced. The Point God orchestrating such deadly passing and pick-and-roll play is beautifully explosive to watch. But the value that J.J. Redick contributes in the Los Angeles Clippers’ system is an important reason his teammates are performing at such high levels. No one person on the team (there’s a few in the league) is able to come close to replicating Redick’s impact for the Clippers.

Due to the fact that the Clippers possess both Griffin and Jordan, the situation on the basketball court clearly leads to the paint being crowded, even though Griffin can pull defenders to 18 or 20 feet now.

Enter Redick.

Redick is an elite NBA sharpshooter, who is able to space the floor for the Clippers in a vast way, at the expense of the opponent’s defense.

Take a look at how easy he makes it look for his teammates and himself through this level of play.

Redick is one of the most intelligent off-ball players in the NBA. He can get open, zip in and out of space and constantly run off screens, and collapse a defense with ease. With Redick on the floor, the Clippers’ offense is a juggernaut that is seldom unsuccessful. Teams usually put their best perimeter defenders on him to try to create a less stable offense. This is hardly successful, though, due to the many screens set by Griffin and Jordan.

During the 2015-16 season, the team posted an elite 113.5 offensive rating with him on the court and 102.3 rating with him off the court, according to Basketball Reference.

Redick’s lights-out shooting is displayed by his true shooting percentage (59.7), 7th among active players in the NBA. This statistic also takes into account free throws and three-pointers, which shows the overall shooting of a player. He is also always a consistent threat of becoming a part of the 50-40-90 club, which is no easy feat.

Last season, he led the league with a career-high 47.5 three-point percentage. And in the Clippers’ offense as a tireless mover off the ball, he shot 48.1 percent on catch-and-shoot threes (per NBA.com) as the ideal target for Paul and Griffin to kick the ball to.

Off-court Contributions

Redick also brings many different positive contributions off the court. He is also a pioneer, as the first active NBA player to have his own podcast. Few teams have players that express their thoughts wholeheartedly, which makes it difficult to understand the personalities of different players.

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The podcast is a gateway to understand different personalities and how they can affect a team’s locker room atmosphere. Redick brings in athletes, entertainers, coaches, and whoever else he believes would provide an engaged discussion.

He’s also brought in teammates, such as Jamal Crawford after the Western Conference Quarterfinals, to have discussions on what the team would’ve done differently and a player’s perspective of what had happened in the first place. Overall, the podcast provides a positive image for the Clippers and allows constructive discourse to take place among professionals.

This upcoming season is a contract year for Redick and he will perform at a high level like always. However, there will also be large interest around the league for the sharpshooter when he hits free agency in 2017, set for a major pay rise from his current $7.37 million salary. It will be interesting to see how Redick will test unrestricted free agency.

Next: Breaking down the Clippers' toughest month of 2016-17

One could only hope that his contract is finalized quickly, because there are other fish to fry.