It’s quite possible that the Los Angeles Clippers don’t need J.J. Redick to help push the team over the top to contend for a championship. The team’s offense has been absolutely brilliant throughout the 2013-14 season under the leadership of first year head coach Doc Rivers and emergence of Blake Griffin. The squad was able to weather the absence of Chris Paul earlier in the season, and with a currently-injured Jamal Crawford eventually coming back into the fold, things seem to be looking up on that particular end of Los Angeles’ court.
Of course, Redick’s numbers were through the roof in the 30 games he has played with the Clippers so far, which is why the team wouldn’t mind bringing the sharpshooter back into the fold. A bulging disc, diagnosed in early February, may get in the way of that. From the Orange County Register:
The Clippers are nearing a decision on J.J. Redick’s future this season.
The team will determine in the upcoming weeks whether Redick is healthy enough to rejoin the team. If he’s not, the club will likely shut Redick down for the rest of the season in an attempt to have him ready for training camp next year.
Redick, who hasn’t played since Feb. 3 because of a bulging disc in his back, has recently ramped up a shooting program, though Doc Rivers said the team doesn’t know when and if he’ll be able to return.
It seems a bit rash to call Redick out for the entire season, even though we’re aware that bulging disc issues are to be taken very, very seriously.
Redick is shooting 39 percent from long range this season and averaging a career high 15.7 points per game despite playing fewer than 29 minutes a contest. In many ways 2013-14 has been a career year for the 29-year old, but these back (and, previously, broken right hand and torn right wrist ligament) issues have contributed to a second straight frustrating season for the scoring guard. Los Angeles’ offense hasn’t suffered in his absence, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want the floor spacer back for a playoff run.
The third seeded Clippers could make this a lengthy postseason run, which is why it confounds as to why the team would write off Redick’s season in the second week of March. The playoffs don’t start for over a month from now, and a seven-game first round series (Los Angeles is currently slated to take on the formidable Golden State Warriors in the first round) takes all of two weeks to conclude, so why drop the hammer now? Returning from a back injury is no small feat, but why not keep the options open?
Even with Redick’s 39 percent shooting (and an ungodly 60 percent True Shooting mark) dotting half the team’s season, the Clippers remain a below average, 21st-ranked crew from behind the arc. The sheer amount of free throws and high percentage looks they toss in from most other areas, however, makes this team perhaps the most fearsome offensive unit in the loaded Western Conference, especially so when you consider the idea that Chris Paul would begin to impose his will and start dominating the ball more and more as the postseason strings along. Whether or not this is a good thing, especially with Blake Griffin evolving into a top five MVP candidate, is for the playoffs to answer.
For now, the Clippers can just observe Redick’s recovery and hope for the best. Should he be declared fit to play, though, in a month or so? That’s a pretty strong roster addition, for a team looking more and more like a squad that deserves to be thought of as an NBA Finals threat.