Over at Bleacher Report, I put together a comprehensive breakdown of why the Clippers’ offense is so different (and so improved) with J.J. Redick back from injury. Click here to read the full piece. Here is an excerpt:
With Redick gone though, there wasn’t anyone in the lineup who could run those sets as successfully. So floppy—and many similar types of plays—stopped. The playbook changed.
Willie Green can spot up, but isn’t the type of player you run plays for in your offense. Matt Barnes is a great cutter, but isn’t great when he has to take long, off-balanced shots. Most of his cuts tend to go toward the basket, not away from it.
Jamal Crawford, meanwhile, is more of a ball-handler than an off-ball cutter. Darren Collison, when he would play off the ball with Chris Paul, was the same way.
“A lot of our plays are programmed for [Redick's] strengths,” Jared Dudley explains. “So coming off a lot of two-down curls, pin downs. He moves well without the ball. The ball usually finds energy.”
The Clippers had to find a new way to energize with Redick gone.
We didn’t see as much floppy. We didn’t see as many flex or baseline cuts. And we saw more instances of Paul or Crawford trying to create offense in not-quite-as-effective ways.
The most obvious asset Redick brings the Clippers is his shooting, especially from long range. He has hit 39 percent of his three-point attempts over his career. He’s made 88 percent of his free throws.
Redick can make shots. That, we know. But maybe the most underappreciated part of his game is his conditioning.
There are great shooters out there, who are different types of players than Redick. Usually, those are stationary shooters, guys who like to camp out in the corners and wait for the ball to come to them in a wide-open situation.
Redick, though, actually moves. He exhausts defenders who have to run through screens to defend him. It’s not easy to chase a constantly speeding car through rush-hour traffic—but such is life guarding J.J. Redick.
In that particular role, the value doesn’t always come in made shots. It also comes in creating movement, which gives a defense some sort of uncertainty in future plays.
“When his guy is tired and doesn’t want to chase him, that means someone else has to help,” Crawford reveals. “That’s when things open up.”
It’s a philosophy like that which can explain the value Redick brings an offense, even when he doesn’t make his shots.