Where does J.J. Redick rank among the NBA’s greatest all-time shooters?
It’s a question I found myself asking after the sharpshooter announced his retirement on Tuesday following a 15-year career that included stints with the Orlando Magic, Milwaukee Bucks, LA Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, New Orleans Pelicans and Dallas Mavericks.
Drafted 11th overall by the Magic in 2006 following a standout four-year career at Duke where he was a national player of the year, two-time All-American, two-time ACC player of the year and four-time All-ACC selection, Redick developed into one of the most productive 3-point shooters in NBA history.
After an uneven start to his career that left many wondering if Redick’s otherwordly shooting ability could make up for some ballhandling and defensive shortcomings in the NBA, Redick finally found his stride in his eighth season after joining the LA Clippers. Redick’s ultra-competitive swagger fit perfectly alongside Chris Paul and his floor-stretching wizardry opened up Lob City for Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
Redick’s career coincided with the swift leaguewide transformation, a shift which allowed Redick to thrive in a new pace-and-space era. Ultimately, he rode that wave into the record books to the point where it’s a legitimate conversation to wonder where he ranks among the all-time elite sharpshooters.
J.J. Redick’s shooting by the numbers
Let’s start with the basics.
He ranks 15th in all-time made 3s, just below Dirk Nowitki, LeBron James and Joe Johnson and just ahead of J.R. Smith, Chauncey Billups, Kobe Bryant and Kyle Lowry. Scan the list of names above him and you’ll see almost exclusively a group of high volume first or second options, which Redick never was even at his height.
Redick also ranks 17th in 3-point field goal percentage, finishing with a career clip of 41.5 percent including an outrageous 47.5 percent in 2015-16 when he led the NBA. Taking into account both volume and efficiency, he’s one of just four players to rank inside the top 20 in both makes and percentage, joining Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kyle Korver.
|Made 3-pt FG||3-pt Pct|
But Redick’s shooting prowess extends far beyond simply spotting up in the corner or burying catch-and-shoot 3s against an overhelping defense.
He hit them curling off screens going in either direction. He hit them after stopping on a dime at a dead sprint in transition. He hit them while catching at a dead sprint and never stopping except to square his feet and launch while falling out of bounds. He hit them them against towering defenders after dribble hand-offs.
At his absolute shot-making hay day, Redick made shots that defied logic … both inside AND outside the 3-point line. As an ode to Kobe Bryant following his retirement after the 2015-16 season, I poured through millions of player-tracking data points in search of the new Kobe. I wanted to answer a seemingly simple question: Who was the NBA’s best player at making difficult shots? Not simply going by reputation, but leaning on data which takes into account if a shooter is stationary or moving, where their momentum is carrying them, the time on the shot clock, and the location of the nearest defenders.
Who came out on top? Redick. Not Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Joe Johnson, Klay Thompson or any of the other All-Stars typically in these types of conversations.
How J.J. Redick compares with other greats
So taking all of that into consideration, where does that leave Redick?
He’s comfortably behind the big four: Curry, Thompson, Ray Allen and Reggie Miller. I’m not sure anyone could argue that.
And while Redick’s without a doubt a brilliant shot maker who made huge strides as a shooter off the bounce, he’s still largely reliant on others, which makes him hard to put ahead of players like Kevin Durant, Steve Nash, Larry Bird, Dirk Nowitki and Peja Stojakovic.
Accurately mixing volume with efficiency when talking shooters is like mixing oil and water. How do compare someone like Steve Kerr — the most accurate marksman of all-time who feasted on a steady diet of standing still catch-and-shoots from Michael Jordan and Tim Duncan — with someone like Damian Lillard or James Harden, who sacrifice efficiency while taking them in bunches often draped with multiple defenders.
That leaves Redick somewhere in a group that includes the likes of Korver, Dale Ellis, Glen Rice, J.R. Smith and Kerr. Basketball-Reference’s advanced league-adjusted shooting splits are one way to balance out volume with efficiency that also teases out shot selection within the context of the era they played in. Essentially, you can see how much a player’s total shots added or subtracted relative to what a league average player would do on those same overall attempts, including free throws. Getting to the line and converting is a valuable component of considering the entire shooter.
|Points Added Over NBA Avg||Career Games|
It isn’t perfect and it doesn’t take into account more granular details like player-tracking data. But it’s a smarter way of contextualizing overall performance for a skill that has competely transformed over time to the point where it is almost impossible to compare shooters across eras.
Regardless, the point here isn’t to nerd out hardcore.
The point is to give Redick his due as one of the NBA’s greatest shooters of all-time. There is no more in-demand skill than shooting, and Redick is one of the best to ever do it, a premier shot-maker extraordinaire who in some ways symbolized the sport’s broader shift over the last decade.
Original source here
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