DALLAS - At the NBA trade deadline, the Dallas Mavericks made it a point to add more shooting with the acquisition of JJ Redick. The thought is that he can provide a needed complement to Luka Doncic within the team's half-court offense.
The Mavericks are still acclimating Redick into the mix but he's beginning to show some truly intriguing flashes within his role. Dallas is beginning to add wrinkles into their half-court attack that involve his shooting ability.
So far, Redick has appeared in 6 games since being traded to the Mavericks. He has received an average of 12.3 minutes and has produced averages of 5.8 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 0.8 assists while converting on 47.4% of his three-point attempts.
While those numbers do not jump off the page, there have been some flashes of how Redick can be a key contributor for the Mavericks. There are plenty of spot-up shooters around the NBA that can provide value spacing the floor. However, there are plenty of additional dimensions that Redick brings to the table in comparison.
Redick is capable of shooting both on-the-move and off-the-dribble while having significant gravity when moving without the ball. Those are a valuable set of attributes for a complementary player - making him an important addition to the team.
Redick Thriving with Handoffs
The threat of JJ Redick's catch-and-shoot jumper when involved in handoffs has been a valuable attribute for the Mavericks early on. Sequences of this kind are a favorable quick-hitting method to get the ball to Redick and put the defense in compromising situations.
Take this play against the Lakers for example. Redick identified that Harrell was playing up after making the catch and used a shot fake. After getting Harrell to bite, Redick created a two-on-one situation on a drive to the rim. His veteran savvy to use a pass fake solidified the clean finish.
While Redick is not known as being a facilitator, he's an unselfish player who has legitimate playmaking ability. There are situations when his gravity commands significant attention from the defense and sets up favorable facilitation outcomes.
On this handoff against the Lakers, Redick put the ball on the floor to take a wide angle. With Montrezl Harrell stepping up to engage Redick, he created a perfect angle to zip the ball to Willie Cauley-Stein on the dive to the rim.
The top priority for the defense when Redick is engaged in a handoff is to prevent him from getting a clean look from beyond the arc. Next on the list is to prevent a pass to a rim roller. This often results in the on-ball defender aggressively going over while the big defender sags off in drop coverage.
When both of those circumstances occur, as they did on this play against the Lakers, Redick is able to take a wide angle to set up a pull-up in mid-range. If the defense starts to pressure him harder, it will more often than not, create a window to create a shot for a teammate.
Having all of the previously mentioned counter options in addition to being a knockdown shooter makes Redick quite a robust threat in handoffs. The Mavericks can lean on this in their bench unit, in particular, to help give defenses different looks.
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Early in JJ Redick's tenure with the Mavericks, off-screen plays account for 35.3% of his scoring possessions. While his shots haven't quite fallen consistently in these sequences, the way that Dallas has used them to create shot attempts is intriguing, nevertheless.
Most teams will use pindowns, floppy actions, and double screens to get their sharpshooters open for quick hitting catch-and-shoot attempts. Redick has certainly been no exception. Having a player that can be involved in such sequences adds necessary dimensions that were lost by trading away Seth Curry.
There are plenty of ways the Mavericks can get creative to create jumpers for Redick in off-screen situations. There was a prime example of this that occurred during Dallas' win over the Lakers.
On this possession, the Mavericks used Redick to make the defense 'pick their poison.' Willie Cauley-Stein set a screen for Redick instead of a traditional ball screen. The screen contact freed up Redick and left Montrezl Harrell having to choose between preventing a wide open rim roll or giving up the open jumper.
It's fascinating to consider all of the possibilities with a shooter of Redick's caliber. For example, the Mavericks haven't yet used Redick as a ball screener for Luka Doncic or Jalen Brunson and there are many additional layers of offense that emerge from those plays, too.
Teams are often going to do whatever it takes to prevent JJ Redick from being able to receive open catch-and-shoot jumpers. The Mavericks have to get creative with their approach beyond just sticking him in the weak-side corner and waiting for the ball to come his way after a drive-and-kick scenario.
There are a variety of advantages to having Redick space the floor from the weak-side. He can counter the two most common NBA closeout strategies that defenses use. Dallas can benefit from his shot fake against hard run outs and also station him on the wing against teams who like to use X-outs.
When Redick does space the floor from the weak-side corner, the Mavericks can get creative with their approach. An intriguing option that stood out recently was when Dallas had him relocate towards the ball and used a cutter and off-ball screener to neutralize a potential close out.
Having this sort of impact during late-game situations is particularly valuable for the Mavericks. Teams have to key-in heavily on Luka Doncic and that will free up Redick as a result. Those are circumstances that can translate to momentum swinging plays.
What's to come?
It's still early in JJ Redick's time with the Mavericks, so expanding his playing time and opportunities within the offense is still an ongoing process. There's still plenty of games left to work with during the 'stretch-run' of the NBA regular season.
With Josh Richardson (listed as "questionable,'' by the way, for tonight's Lakers rematch, as are Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber) struggling to convert from beyond the arc, could the Mavericks look to involve Redick more alongside Doncic? Maximizing floor spacing for their elite playmaker is of the utmost importance to deter defenses from getting away with sending extra ball pressure.
The role that Redick plays with the bench unit does present more opportunities for him to be involved directly in handoffs and in actions within the half-court offense. So keeping him involved in that group would surely help.
The long-term outlook of what Redick's role with the Mavericks will be has some pros and cons to consider. He can help either unit, but regardless, it's clear making it a priority to increase his playing time needs to occur.