The Los Angeles Clippers continue to roll right along without Blake Griffin, who is set to return to the lineup any day now. The Clippers are a stunning 10-1 since Griffin went down with a partially torn quad at the end of December. Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan are rightfully receiving much of the credit for keeping the machine working properly.
Still, the Clippers aren't in this position without J.J. Redick. Redick's always been unheralded in Los Angeles because he's the fourth wheel alongside Paul, Griffin and Jordan, but the 31-year-old is in the midst of a career season and has taken his game to new heights in recent weeks.
Redick's performance against the Houston Rockets on Monday was the culmination of this superb play. Redick posted a career-high 40 points in a thrilling 140-132 overtime victory. His nine three-pointers on 12 attempts tied Caron Butler's franchise mark. Not only did he do damage from behind the arc, but his nearly automatic stroke from the free-throw line put the game away.
This latest barrage from Redick raised his shooting percentage to 49 percent shooting and 50 percent from long range on nearly six attempts per game. His 50 percent mark from deep leads the league and his 65.5 true shooting percentage is second behind only the great Stephen Curry.
One would think Redick's shooting depends on a star like Griffin demanding double teams, yet Redick has actually taken his game to yet another level with Griffin out. J.J. is averaging over 20 points per game on nearly 54 percent shooting overall and 59 percent from three in his last 11 games.
Redick's importance becomes even clearer when looking at his impact on the Clippers' performance when he's in the game. He owns the best net rating differential on the team this season, per NBA.com. The Clippers have scored over 121 points per 100 possessions in 326 minutes over the last 11 games with Redick in. In the 212 minutes he's sat, that offensive rating is under 100.
Redick has always lubricated the Clippers' offense with his shooting and movement, but those skills have become even more important in the team's smaller lineups without Griffin. Redick's ability to space the floor is a major weapon in conjunction with Paul-Jordan pick-and-rolls.
The Rockets were so concerned about Jordan rolling to the basket that multiple defenders sunk into the lane to help against a potential lob. Meanwhile, James Harden got caught watching the pick-and-roll develop, which allowed Redick to sneak open in the corner. Paul found him with a beautiful cross-court pass, Clint Capela was too late rotating out and Redick made Houston pay.
Here's another example of a Paul-Jordan pick-and-roll turning into an open three for Redick:
Again, Redick's man, Alonzo Gee, was so focused on Jordan rolling that he dove all the way into the paint and even made contact with him to impede his progress. As that happened, Redick slipped open behind the arc and buried the three as Gee was stuck in the paint. Redick is the NBA's most efficient scorer on spot-up situations, according to Synergy Sports Technology, so this shot is automatic.
Yet much of Redick's best work is actually when he's careening off screens. His quick release makes him deadly on these plays.
Redick gets a third of his offense through off-ball screens. Only Sacramento's Marco Belinelli has a higher percentage of his offense come this way, per Synergy Sports. Redick's among the best in the league in these situations, ranking in the 83rd percentile in points per possession.
Redick can also use those screens to create opportunities for others, thanks to his underrated passing:
Redick's total assist numbers have decreased in LA because he gets fewer opportunities, but he had become a solid passer in Orlando and can still hurt opponents that send multiple defenders at him. In that clip, Capela aggressively jumped out to take away an open jumper. With Dwight Howard glued to Jordan and Harden in no-man's land, Redick simply found Luc Mbah a Moute for a layup.
Redick doesn't do much work off the dribble, but he can also occasionally put the ball on the floor and score when opponents take away his jumper.
Redick is shooting 50 percent on his drives, per SportVU data, and a solid 58 percent at the rim this season. The sample sizes are small, but he put up similar percentages last year, so he's at least shown he can finish effectively at the rim as well.
Redick is currently gunning to become just the second player ever (Steve Kerr is the other) to finish a season shooting 50 percent from the field, 50 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free-throw line. The difference is that Kerr played fewer minutes and almost exclusively hit spot-up jumpers. Redick, on the other hand, gets more opportunities and is asked to carry a much heavier offensive load.
It'll be tough for Redick maintain that pace, but even if he falls short, he's become indispensable to the Clippers' faint championship hopes.