Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick is thriving under head coach Doc Rivers, pacing toward career bests in several key metrics and helping his team to early season success in the competitive Western Conference.
He's benefiting from a systematic fit, good spacing and the strong play of several of his teammates, including reigning Western Conference Player of the Week Blake Griffin. It doesn't hurt that superstar Chris Paul is the best point guard he's ever played with, either.
Impressively, Redick is scoring from all three levels. The sharpshooter has been able to get into the paint for high-percentage shots to complement his long-range ability and give him confidence. His shot chart is like the rest of the Clips' offense this season -- balanced:
Though the sample size is small, through 11 games Redick's positive influence on the Clippers at both ends of the floor is undeniable. According to NBA.com's on/off stats, the Clippers are scoring 101.2 points and allowing 113.5 points per 100 possessions with Redick off the floor. When he's on the floor, LA is dramatically improved on both sides of the ball. With Redick, the Clips are scoring 115.1 per 100 possessions and allowing just 102.6.
It's clear that the Clips are better with him on the court, but why they're so much better is the important question to explore.
Redick won't ever be mistaken for an elite defender. He's capable, but his on-ball skills on that end are one of the weakest aspects of his game. The numbers suggest that the more efficient the Clips are on offense, where they can maximize Redick's effect on the game, the better they are at getting stops.
In 2013-14, the former Duke star is averaging a career-high 16.6 points per game, and his per-minute production of 20.4 points per 36 minutes demonstrates that he's doing it with as much efficiency as ever. He's posting a PER (via Basketball-Reference.com) of 18.9, nearly four points better than his career-high of 15.1 in 2011-12 with the Orlando Magic.
The Clippers' system is working for Redick and playing to his strengths. After being marginalized by the Milwaukee Bucks after last season's trade from Orlando, he's back in his comfort zone and taking a career-high 5.8 three-point attempts per game. That's a testament to the floor balance and spacing created by their best player.
The Paul Effect
Paul is a magician when it comes to getting his teammates the ball as evidenced by his league-shattering 12.6 assists per game and career number of 9.9. He's been nothing short of outstanding this season in all facets, and the attention he's drawing from defenders is opening things up for his teammates.
Griffin, for example, earned Western Conference Player of the Week honors on Monday and is en route to career highs in several categories. It's not by accident that the Clips' floor general is making those around him better. That's what he does, and that's one of the primary reasons Redick is enjoying similar success early on.
The Clippers have an offensive rating of 109.7 to this point, and that's second only to the Miami Heat. Scoring has been no issue, but they still have plenty of work to do on the defensive end. At 108.9 points per 100 opponents possessions, they're second to last in the league.
Rivers isn't having the influence on defense to this point that the Clippers need, but even marginal improvement in that regard will allow them to take a major step forward and continue to be one of the top teams in the West.
All Redick has to do is keep knocking down open looks and enjoy scoring in a variety of ways. When he's on the floor, the Clippers do everything better.