The Dallas Mavericks needed more shooting, so they traded for one of the best shooters in the NBA. JJ Redick will now be lurking on the perimeter for the Mavericks as they push for home court advantage in the playoffs. Acquiring Redick was a low cost solution that improved the roster this year while maintaining flexibility for the offseason.
Redick burst onto the national scene as a freshman at Duke University when he scored 30 points in the ACC championship game. He quickly established himself as one of the greatest shooters in college basketball history (and one of it’s greatest heels). Redick is third all-time in 3-pointers made in NCAA history, and is Duke’s all-time leading scorer. At one point during his college career, he made an NCAA record 54 free throws in a row.
The Orlando Magic selected Redick with the 11th pick in the 2006 draft, though some questioned if he would be able to stick in the NBA due to his potential shortcomings on defense. Redick, though, seemed to understand exactly what his role would be in the NBA. “I think I’ll be a role player like 80 percent of the players in the league are,” he told the Charlotte Observer in 2005. “I don’t expect to be a star, I’ll just shoot, be a team player.” That’s what he’s done for fourteen years.
Redick played sparingly his first two seasons in Orlando, but finally broke through in 2008-09, becoming a key part of a squad that went to the NBA Finals. The roster was built around Dwight Howard at center and deadly 3-point shooting surrounding him. Redick fit perfectly. The Magic lost to the Lakers in the Finals, but Redick shot 40% from behind the arc. A few years later Redick was shipped off to Milwaukee as part of a deal that included Tobias Harris going to Orlando.
Redick joined the Clippers as a free agent (though technically he was part of a three-team sign-and-trade deal) in 2013 and became a huge part of the Lob City run there. Redick played the best basketball of his career in L.A., scoring almost 16 points per game and shooting 44% from three during his four years there. In 2017, he signed a two-year deal with the 76ers and had a couple of deep playoff runs there.
Surprising everyone at the time, Redick found his way to New Orleans in 2019 as a free agent, signing a two-year deal with the Pelicans. When they missed the playoffs last year, it was Redick’s first time missing the postseason in his 13-year career.
Redick should feel right at home in Dallas. The Mavericks are fifth in the NBA in 3-point attempts, and Donnie Nelson didn’t make this deal for Redick to play defense. He’ll have license to hoist as many 3-pointers as he can. Redick is currently shooting 36% from deep, his lowest percentage since 2012-13, but playing with Luka Doncic should help tremendously. The spacing in New Orleans has been bad all year as they’ve tried to find the most effective lineups around Zion Williamson.
Luka Doncic should create plenty of opportunities for Redick on the perimeter. Redick shoots 47% on wide open 3-pointers, which the NBA defines as a shot taken when a defender is more than six feet away from the shooter. That’s a better shooting percentage on wide open shots than any of the role players the Mavericks deploy right now. That’s not surprising when considering Dorian Finney-Smith or Josh Richardson, who have struggled shooting all year. But it’s better than more consistent shooters like Maxi Kleber and Tim Hardaway Jr.
Redick is shooting almost 40% on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers. He’ll get a steady diet of those attempts with the defense focusing on Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. The Mavericks are only shooting 37% on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers, 15th in the NBA. Redick should help them convert more of those shots, though he’s not on the level of Kleber (almost 48%). Just on reputation as a shooter alone, Redick should open up the interior for the Mavericks on offense. Defenses won’t sag off of him the way they will Richardson or Finney-Smith.
There’ll be issues on defense, for sure. The Mavericks will have to devise ways to hide him on bad shooters, and there might be matchups where Redick will struggle to get minutes. And there’s the issue of his current heel injury. But overall this should help the Mavericks. James Johnson and Wes Iwundu weren’t playing at all, and Redick brings a skill Dallas desperately needs. He won’t change their playoff fate on his own, but the Mavericks are a better team going forward with the addition of Redick.