Tuesday, June 9, 2009
He Is Who We Thought He Was
For a brief moment, I was happy for him.
A genuine, warm, happy, "you deserve this" moment.
College wonder-boy J.J. Redick had just hit a three to tie the game late on Sunday against the Lakers.
For all the crap he's taken, some of it from me, I was glad to see him do something at the pro level that he was devastatingly effective doing in college.
Then, the good feeling vanished.
Playing extended minutes for the first time in weeks, Stan Van's hunch resumed clanging shots off the iron, and throwing away passes for crucial turnovers.
Which, is exactly what many basketball fans had figured for Dick Vitale's golden boy as a pro. A role player, at best.
This is not to bash Redick. His college career was great. Not spectacular. But as a pure dead-eye jump shooter, there have been few like him.
The hype though, was absurd. Which is why I want Dick Vitale abducted like the boss in Christmas Vacation, and strapped into a TV chair to update his opinion of Redick as a pro.
Back in college, Vitale just kept screaming "he's a winner, baybee! He'll find a way to play at the next level! Heeeeeyyyyyyy!!!!"
Truth however, is that the NBA is a league of extraordinary freaks of nature. You can't just be a nice shooting, moderately athletic 6-2 guard like Redick and survive. The telling play was when he drove down the lane late against the Lakers, threw a little shoulder fake and the promptly passed the ball right to Trevor Ariza for a turnover.
Jeff Van Gundy pointed out, that you can't make that play in this league, when you are not a credible threat to take the ball all the way to the rack and finish.
All of this isn't to say Redick can't become a useful NBA gadget player. Like a one-trick Fred Hoiberg-esque pony.
But he is, who we thought he was. Somebody call Vitale for a comment.
And while I was Google-searching for Redick pics, I came across this one. Uh huh. That's a giant W-T-F. Put your Army toys away, J.J.