J.J. Redick was really, really good
September, 8, 2011
By Eamonn Brennan | ESPN.com
Craig Jones/Getty ImagesOne new measure sheds some light on just how good J.J. Redick's senior season was.OK, so that's hardly a newsflash. Redick was the national player of the year at Duke. He drained 3-pointers at a prodigious rate. He taunted opponents just as frequently. He was, for pretty much all four years of his Duke career, the most divisive player in all of basketball, let alone the college game.
Also, he wrote poetry.
In other words, telling you J.J. Redick was a good basketball player seems like an awkward thing to do. Duh, right? But there is some new information here. Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn is currently plumbing the depths of Cracked Sidewalks blogger John Pudner's "Value Add" metric, which is explained here. Basically, Value Add is a way -- similar to baseball's Wins Above Replacement (WAR) -- to calculate how much a given player contributes to his team's success compared to a replacement level player holding minutes and usage equal. (It derives its backbone data from Ken Pomeroy's adjusted efficiency statistics. In this case, "replacement level" means a low-level bench player; Luke describes him as the "ninth or 10th man off a major conference bench.")
Winn is using Pudner's formula to calculate the best individual seasons from players in the past decade. Earlier this week, he published an appraisal of the best point guard seasons in the past 10 years. (Jordan Taylor's 2010-11 season was the second-best of the decade. That Jordan Taylor is good at basketball, kids.) Today, Winn reveals the figures for shooting guards and wings. Redick's name sits comfortably atop the list:
1. 9.33%: J.J. Redick, Duke, 2005-06 (Sr.)
(120.2 ORating, 92.5% mins. played, 29.2% poss. used, vs. 0.947 PPP defense)
Redick was the most hated player in college hoops, but he wasn't overrated. He posted his Wooden-and-Naismith worthy numbers going against the second-toughest slate of defenses (average efficiency: 94.7) in the database, and took his game to the next level by adding a slashing element to his already lethal long-range shooting. His senior year goes down as the gold standard for modern-era shooting guards.
The closest player to Redick's senior season was, guess who, Gonzaga's Adam Morrison, whose value add percentage in 2005-06 was 9.03 percent. Third place fell to former Oregon star Luke Jackson, who posted a 7.91 percent value add as a senior in 2003-04. The rest of the top 10 looks a lot like Jackson; the remaining seven value adds all fall somewhere below eight percent but above seven.
In other words, when Redick and Morrison were waging their bi-coastal battle for national player of the year honors in 2005-06 -- in between sessions of Halo 2, that is -- they weren't just providing college hoops fans with a lively national conversation. They were also simultaneously posting the two best seasons of any shooting guards or wings in the past decade. Now, nearly six years on, the hate has cooled to a low burn (at least outside of ACC country) and we can look back and appreciate just how good Redick and his video game cohort were. The answer? Like I said: really, really good.