How Redick ended up best player on NBA team
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
Two story lines to follow during Monday’s seven-game NBA slate:
How did J.J. Redick end up the best player on an NBA team?
Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks, 7:30, NBATV: We’re blaming Dwight Howard for this one. Redick, object of so much derision coming out of Duke, quietly turned himself into a valuable role player over the past few seasons. Then the Magic went into overhaul mode, and he was forced into a much bigger role. While Glen Davis, Arron Afflalo and Nikola Vucevic have struggled to handle roles way over their heads, Redick has thrived. He averages 15.8 points and 5.5 assists a game while shooting 48.9% from the field, 38.7% on threes and 86.2% on free throws, all while playing stronger defense than he ever did in college. Redick is a free agent after this season, and his play in a magnified role will increase his value substantially. The Hawks will counter Redick with weak defenders Kyle Korver and Lou Williams, so the former Blue Devil could have a big night on national television.
Are the Houston Rockets playoff contenders?
Rockets at Utah Jazz, 9: Playoff contenders win these types of games, on the road against other borderline contenders. But the Rockets are 2-6 since a 2-0 start, with James Harden’s performances evening out after scoring 82 points in his first two games for Houston. The Jazz have a deep and strong frontcourt, but the Rockets have a lot of bodies to throw at them and should have a substantial advantage on one of the NBA’s weakest backcourts. Jeremy Lin still may be icing his face after taking a shot from Metta World Peace in Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Houston point guard does a better job spreading the ball around than Utah counterpart Mo Williams. The Rockets were not expected to do much this season, but Harden’s rapid development shifted those preseason criticisms. Now they have to deliver.
Sunday’s other games:
Indiana Pacers at Washington Wizards, 7
Milwaukee Bucks at Charlotte Bobcats, 7
Denver Nuggets at Memphis Grizzlies, 8
Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks, 8:30
Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs, … [For more on Tonight's NBA schedule: How did J.J. Redick end up best player on NBA team?, click here.]