Raptors GM Masai Ujiri and the Raptors are back at it again, inserting themselves in borderline detrimental trade-talks for almost guaranteed short-term rentals. First, it was Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. Now, according to reports, JJ Redick could be making his way to the great white north.
The Raptors are offering the Pelicans both Norman Powell and a 2021 second-round pick for the veteran combo guard. A genius move by the team, trading away a young, developing talent for a 35-year-old who’s not only hobbled with a hamstring injury but is also likely on his way out of the league after another two years. But this is not the time for sarcasm. Redick is just the veteran presence the team needs going into this year’s playoffs and into next season.
Make no mistake, Redick might be an elder statesman of the NBA at this point but he’s still one of the most valuable players in the entire league. His shooting, his ability to move without the ball and overall basketball IQ is something every team in the entire league would love to have.
For starters, Redick would open up the Raptors offence tremendously as a 46% shooter from the 3-pt line this year. That is not a typo. That’s actually what he’s shooting from beyond the arc which is on almost 7 attempts per game by the way.
Laughably, Powell is shooting 40% from outside the arc which under any other circumstance is amazing but compared to Redick, it seems rather pedestrian. And looking more deeply, much of the reason Powell has a higher field goal percentage overall is that about 35% of his shot attempts come between 3 feet of the basket.
Beyond that, as much as his slashing abilities are valuable, he’s not the greatest playmaker which leads to congested driving lanes. I mean you can’t expect Siakam, Ibaka, and Gasol to always fall back to the 3pt line. That’s not exactly ideal basketball. Redick is clearly the more natural fit with the way the team is constructed currently, as he can run across screens and find openings for himself or for the bigs where they’re most comfortable.
Plus, the Raptors are really not sacrificing much losing out on Powell, considering they already have a potentially better replacement sitting on their bench currently. Terence Davis is just 22 years old, has similar shooting statistics with Powell and has a higher assist percentage. He’s basically a Norman Powell in the making with better playmaking abilities.
Perhaps most importantly, Redick’s leadership skills and basketball knowledge as a 13-year veteran is wasted sitting on the bench with a bunch of young guys in New Orleans. Redick is a player made for the playoffs who could turn a fringe contender into potential Final’s participants. An addition of his caliber will surely thrust new confidence into the Raptors squad going into the second half of the season and throughout the playoffs. And even if the Raptors can’t get it done this season, Redick is a well-respected player around the league. Norman Powell won’t make or break a big free agent’s decision to come to Toronto but the chance to play with JJ Redick might.
A Redick trade means yet another short-term rental for the Raptors squad but if history has taught us anything, this team can do a lot in a short period of time.