Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Can Redick be the Clippers' Ray Allen?
By D.J. Foster Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com
When you move to a new city, a little familiarity is always appreciated.
After spending nine years coaching the Celtics, Doc Rivers had to leave certain Boston institutions such as Kevin Garnett and Dunkin' Donuts back on the East Coast to coach the Los Angeles Clippers. And while Blake Griffin, the Krispy Kreme of this hunger-fueled analogy, isn't a bad consolation prize by any means, he's just not the same.
J.J. Redick figures to play a major player for the Clippers this season, stepping into a role for coach Doc Rivers like the one Ray Allen used to play in Boston.
When you win a championship and have the level of success Rivers had, it would make sense to acquire players who replicate the style, skills and production levels of those you've had success with in the past. Maybe that's why in one of his first acts as head coach and senior vice president of basketball operations for the Clippers, Rivers traded for J.J. Redick, his new Ray Allen.
Does it feel blasphemous to compare Redick to Jesus Shuttlesworth? It probably shouldn't.
Redick offered a glimpse of what he could do as a primary offensive option in big minutes last season. Just look at his numbers with Orlando last year compared to Allen’s championship season with Rivers:
Redick '12-13: 17.3 points per 36, 59.2 TS%, 21.5 USG, 16.1 PER
Allen '07-08: 17.5 points per 36, 58.4 TS%, 21.6 USG, 16.4 PER
Although the statistical profiles are eerily similar, the process might matter to Rivers more than the raw results.
Synergy Sports has tracked shot types since the 2009-10 season, giving us two seasons of Ray Allen's shot-type data in Boston. In those seasons, Allen had roughly 33 percent of his attempts coming off screens and 19 percent coming on spot-up opportunities.
When Dwight Howard was in Orlando, Redick tilted heavily toward more pure spot-up chances, as the Magic liked to work inside-out and run everything through the post. But once Howard left, the scoring types and locations changed dramatically for Redick, as he received 33 percent of his looks off screens and 17.9 percent on spot-up chances, yet again nearly identical numbers to Allen's years with Rivers.
The sample size might be a little small, but it certainly appears Redick is capable of replicating a great deal of Allen's production if he's used in a similar manner. We know Chris Paul will find Redick open spot-up chances and that Griffin's post passing will do much of the same, but the big question seem to be whether Redick can continue to thrive as a shooter off screens and how that might look in the flow of the offense. Can a group almost entirely void of offensive structure last season shift to a more scripted style of play?
It will take a great deal of cooperation from his teammates, particularly in one area.
Setting multiple bone-crushing screens every night certainly doesn't qualify as fun, but part of what made Allen so great in his role running off screens was the plaster job Garnett regularly put on Allen's defender. Whether it was setting a simple pin-down screen or creating a wall on the baseline, Allen always had the benefit of being able to run his man into some nasty contact. For Redick to be able to enjoy the same offensive success, Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will have to make tremendous strides as screeners.
To that point, part of what made Allen great in Boston was the complete focus from the coaching staff and from every player on the court to create the best possible looks for him, essentially giving him the star treatment he deserved.
Redick might not be considered a star, but with his addition, the change of scenery for Rivers might not require a change of strategy.
Stats from Basketball-Reference.com, ESPN.com, and MySynergySports.com were used in this story.