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Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Clippers upgrade at starting wing positions

By Jovan Buha

According to sources, the Los Angeles Clippers traded for guard J.J. Redick from the Milwaukee Bucks and forward Jared Dudley from the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, sending guard Eric Bledsoe and forward Caron Butler to the Suns and a second round pick to the Bucks. Milwaukee also received a second round pick from Phoenix.

Despite the significant loss of Bledsoe -- who was underutilized as a back-up point guard -- the Clippers were able to shed Butler’s expiring and overpriced contract and find long-term upgrades for their starting shooting guard and small forward positions.

In Redick and Dudley, the Clippers added two cerebral, proficient shooters who can handle the ball, pass and defend. Both are good locker room guys with high character and impressive work ethics.

While Bledsoe was the best player in the trade, his departure was inevitable as long as Chris Paul was around. The Clippers capitalized on a rare opportunity to add two starters who perfectly fit their offensive philosophy and will provide improvements defensively.

Let’s take a look at how Redick and Dudley fit with the Clippers:

J.J. Redick
2012-13 stats: 14.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.8 apg, 36.6 3PT%, 14.74 PER


While O.J. Mayo, Arron Afflalo and DeMar DeRozan are the flashier names locally, Redick was the best shooter available and provides quality defense in comparison to the Clippers’ previous starting shooting guards (Willie Green and Chauncey Billups).

A career 39 percent three-point shooter, Redick shot 40.5 percent on spot-up three-pointers and 43.2 percent on transition three-pointers this season. Essentially, he’s the premier floor-spacer the Clippers’ top-5 offense lacked.

Similar to Green and Billups, Redick will primarily function as a spot-up shooter stationed in the corner and/or above the arc (20.1 percent of his offensive possessions were spot-ups this season). He also moves well without the ball -- capable of scoring off baseline and pindown screens and hand-offs -- and can replicate Ray Allen’s catch-and-shoot role within Doc Rivers’ offensive sets.

Redick is more than just a shooter, though, as he’s a solid facilitator out of pick-and-rolls, which allowed him to play point guard in Orlando. He stays within his limitations, rarely forcing bad shots or turning the ball over; he had the third-highest assist-to-turnover ratio among shooting guards who played at least 50 games last season.

Defensively, Redick has sneaky athleticism and good defensive awareness. Though he’s not a lockdown defender, he has worked extremely hard to improve his on-ball defense and has become a competent help defender within a team system. Last season, he held opposing shooting guards to a 12.6 Player Efficiency Rating (PER) in Orlando and a 10.6 PER in Milwaukee.

More importantly, Redick’s presence will allow Paul and Blake Griffin to have more room to operate offensively. As a result, the spacing problems that the Clippers’ offense sometimes suffered from will become less of an issue, as teams can’t leave Redick open beyond the arc.

Jared Dudley
2012-13 stats: 10.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.6 apg, 39.1 3PT%, 14.89 PER


In all of the rumored trade proposals for Bledsoe and Butler, the Clippers received only one wing -- a shooting guard -- and were left with a gaping hole at small forward. However, by adding Dudley, the Clippers retain a small forward and actually upgrade at the position.

Dudley is a potent spot-up shooter -- he made 39.3 percent of his spot-up three-pointers this season -- and off-ball cutter who understands his offensive role, takes high-percentage shots and rarely makes mistakes. He’s an efficient offensive option, posting the 10th-best true shooting percentage (58.2 percent) among small forwards who played at least 50 games last season.

With the Clippers' addition of former Phoenix head coach Alvin Gentry to Rivers' coaching staff, they'll have an immediate advantage in understanding how to use Dudley's offensive skill set. His three-point shooting numbers are sure to take a bump with Paul constantly feeding him in the corners, where he shot 41.1 percent this season.

Despite not being exceptionally long or athletic, Dudley is a good defender who plays physically, takes charges and uses his high basketball IQ to limit his shortcomings. If Matt Barnes is ultimately re-signed, he and Dudley will provide the Clippers with nice defensive size on the perimeter. Depending on Rivers' preference, he may choose to start Barnes over Dudley to add more length, but either player likely would be accepting of his role.

Overall, Dudley’s greatest value is in his versatility. He can play either wing position and, if needed, some smallball power forward. While he’s not particularly great at one skill outside of his shooting, he’s an all-around player who's capable of posting up, rebounding, handling the ball and finding the open man.

Stats used in this post are from ESPN.com, NBA.com/Stats, MySynergySports.com, 82games.com and HoopData.com.