Philadelphia 76ers: J.J. Redick has the Orlando Magic’s number

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

With a fresh cut and a game against his former team, the Orlando Magic, J.J. Redick has finally broken out of his shooting slump just in time for the Philadelphia 76ers final playoff push.

J.J. Redick is finally back.

After a seemingly endless series of games shooting less than 35 percent from downtown (actual time? Six games), Redick finally returned to form against on the hallowed hardwood of the Wells Fargo Center, and boy was it a sight to see.

Facing off against the team that initially drafted , and then traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks alongside former Processor Ish Smith for a package headlined by Tobias Harris (small world, huh?), Redick went off in the Philadelphia 76ers fifth straight game without Joel Embiid, knocking down 6-9 of his 3 point attempts for 26 points in route to a 114-106 over the Orlando Magic.

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But really, should we be surprised?

Redick has been an absolute monster against the Magic this season, averaging 26.3 points a game while knocking down 18 of his 29 3-point attempts for an insane 62 percentage, a serious upgrade over his already impressive season averages of 17.9 points on 38.4 percent clip from 3 point range.

Who knows, maybe it’s Redick’s new hair cut, as he ditched his usual side part for a freshly buzzed look, that helped the 34-year-old guard out of his 22-day slump and brought the Sixers Embiid-less record to 3-2 since the All-Star break? I mean I’ve heard of playoff beards, and even players switching shoes at halftime if their initial pair ‘didn’t have any buckets in ’em‘ so I guess stranger things have happened.

Fortunately for the 76ers, Redick’s resurgence couldn’t have come at a better time.

With four of the Sixers’ next six games coming against playoff contenders in the Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, and Milwaukee Bucks (no offense to the Chicago Bulls or the Cleveland Cavaliers,) Brett Brown‘s squad is going to need every ounce of shooting they can squeeze out of their 15 man roster, especially from their ‘shooting guard’.

Currently sitting at fourth in the East, half a game back from Indiana, if Philly can torch the Pacers and maintain at least a 2-1 win-loss ratio in their remaining five games, it’s entirely possible  the Sixers could finish out the month firmly ahead of Indiana, all but ensuring they miss the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.

That’s the kind of impact a hot Redick can have on a team.

You see, virtually all of Redick’s value comes on the offensive end of the court, as when his shots are falling, opposing teams have to play him differently. However, when Redick goes 0-3 from deep like he did against the Golden State Warriors, opposing teams can all but ignore him on offense, while continuing to target him extensively on defense.

Currently ranked the 56th best defensive shooting guard in the league by ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus, which is actually an upgrade over his 69th mark last season (-.49 vs. -1.92), Redick is often the player opposing coaches scheme to exploit, as he just can’t keep up with the league’s more athletic point guards, and can get easily bullied by bigger shooting guard.

Typically, Redick’s offensive dominance helps to offset his defensive deficiencies, as highlighted by his RPM (1.81 ORPM vs. -.49 DRPM), but when he’s in a slump, that differential shrinks considerably.

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But hey, here at Section 215, we like to be optimistic, so for the sake of this article let’s end things on a high note: J.J. Redick’s 26 points against the Orlando Magic was his fourth-best scoring effort of the season, and his six made 3s tied for his second-best mark of the season. Those are promising stats if you ask me Philadelphia 76ers fans. I think we can officially declare this slump over.