Why JJ Redick Is Too Big Of A Risk For The Charlotte Hornets

Despite being a gifted basketball mind, appointing Redick would be a mistake
Dec 26, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick (4) waits to be
Dec 26, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick (4) waits to be / Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
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As speculation grows about JJ Redick's growing candidacy for the Head Coaching role of the Charlotte Hornets, I can't shake my severe reservations about the potential hire.

The reporting of Redick's candidacy has been like billowing smoke from Spectrum center, so much so I wonder about the origin and intentions of it. Could you trace this back to owner Rick Schnall, who I'm told is a Duke fan and has attended Coach K Academy regularly? Do we really want an owner to go back to appointing people they like from their College Basketball team!? Please no, I thought we were moving on.

Perhaps this is a favor to help boost Redick's image or keep the league guessing while Charlotte wait for their preferred candidate to finish the playoffs. Or maybe he is a genuine candidate and has made an impression with the owners. If so, I would fully support offering him an assistant coaching role as I do think there are characteristics which would make him a good coach.

It's clear why Redick appears popular among some. So often the voice of nuance and reason on ESPN's First Take, he's the spiritual representative for educated NBA fans. He has charisma and an excellent good reputation around the league with players and coaches. Apart from Tar Heel fans, many could imagine enjoying Redick's company while drinking some beers at the bar and talking basketball all night. Who is to say that Charles Lee or David Adelman wouldn't have the same impact? The issue is, because they are actually coaching in the NBA, we don't have the same insight into them.

As a player, Redick squeezed every ounce of potential out of his career. After a successful College career at Duke which saw him become one of the biggest names and heels in the sport (In the wrestling sense, not the Tar type) he went onto have an impressive 15 year career as both a rotation player and starter. Due to his lack of physical gifts, Redick was forced to work harder than everyone else and had to think the game at a higher level, two characteristics which will suit him well as a coach.

Redick makes complicated Xs and Os sound simple, he points out key moments you didn't notice and nails analysis which makes you nod your head and think "I had sort of noticed that but now you made it clear". I couldn't be a bigger admirer of Redick's work in the basketball media landscape.

One of Redick's unique skills is how he articulates his advanced understanding of the game, either on ESPN broadcasts, "The Old Man and The Three" or the "Mind The Game" podcasts. The latter which features LeBron James as co-host, which goes someway to stamping a seal of approval on Redick's character and basketball IQ. I'll admit, before the reported interview with Charlotte, I watched his podcast and thought to myself "He could be an NBA coach if he wanted to be". But not in Charlotte and not now, here is why.

JJ Redick's only coaching experience is his 10 year old son's travel team. He's not spent three year as an assistant like Pat Riley with the Lakers, or two years as an NBA consultant like Steve Nash did for the Warriors, or a previous career in the front office like Steve Kerr in Phoenix. The speed which some move past that massive, glaring issue is bewildering to me.

Incredible job interviews, communication skills and good basketball IQ can only tell you so much in the recruitment process, it's a very different proposition being an analyst or assistant coach to holding the top position. You are the one criticised in the media, you are the one players blame, you have to manage relationships with not only players, but an entire staff while simultaneously staying on the same page as the front office. Those are skills which take time to learn and master through experience.

In the long term, I'm actually optimistic Redick would would make a good head coach, but for anyone making the jump from player into coaching there is a steep learning curve early in their career. If Redick had a real passion to be an NBA Head Coach, why hasn't he done a better job of putting himself in position to be a serious candidate? Looking at his CV currently, you can't argue he is under qualified for the position.

Some point to Dallas Head Coach Jason Kidd as the example of how it could work out. But did it workout for his first two coaching stops in Brooklyn and Milwaukee? As soon as he left Milwaukee Budenholzer turned them into perennial playoff contenders and an NBA champion. For Kidd, well he had to rebuild his reputation as an assistant in LA before earning the Dallas position.

Kidd also came into coaching after winning an NBA Championship as a player, and making 10x All-Star and 9x All-Defense teams. Players he coached knew of his reputation and grew up watching him play with one of the most advanced basketball IQs on the planet. That means something when it comes to credibility with players and staff, and it's something Redick's career can't replicate.

It's plausible Redick is a natural, but even those looking at Redick through rose-colored spectacles must admit he would take some time to find his voice and be fully comfortable. Does Redick have that time in Charlotte? I don't think Charlotte can afford to take on a "Project" of a head coach. They need someone who is able to come in from day one with a crystal clear vision and a confidence they can execute it. With no relevant track record, putting him in charge could only be seen as a huge gamble and the Hornets don't have any house money left.

There isn't another example of someone being appointed as a head coach in NBA history who had no experience working in the front office or as a coach at a high level of basketball, or wasn't an All-Star level player. If Redick was hired, he would be the first. It appears I might be in the minority, but in this case I am choosing history vs the field. Let another team look like the genius and make it work when they hire Al Horford as coach in 2027. In 15 years of following the Hornets I'm yet to see them function at even an average level in terms of strategy, Charlotte have no room for error so don't get cute now.

James Plowright


Twitter: @British_Buzz Linked In: James Plowright Muck Rack: James Plowright About Me Bylines for: Sports Illustrated, Sky Sports NBA, SB Nation, Queen City Hoops Based in Manchester in the United Kingdom, I have covered the Charlotte Hornets since 2008. When I was 16 years old I won a blogging competition on Bobcats.com, this ignited my passion for journalism and since then I went on to write for a variety of blogs; Hornets Planet, Queen City Hoops and At The Hive. In 2022 I took on the role as site content manager for the Charlotte Hornets Fannation site (AllHornets.com).  I am also the founder of the All Hornets Podcast Network, having recorded over 350+ Hornets related podcasts.  Awards - The All Hornets podcast was nominated for "Best Team Podcast" in the 2022 Sports Podcast Awards.  - I was nominated for "Sports Writer of the Year" in 2013 for LSU Media while studying my B.A in History and International Relations at Loughborough University.