Of Magic fans chanting “We want J.J.!” during the closing minutes of blowouts, the Florida Today’s John Denton sniffs “a college player of the year and the all-time leading scorer in Atlantic Coast Conference history shouldn’t have to endure such an indignity.” Hey, the only currently coaching member of the Van Gundy clan shouldn’t have to suffer a player lobbying for playing time through the coupon shopper, either.
In the past, Redick has compared the fans’ pleas that he be inserted into the game to that of Rudy Ruettiger, the no-talent walk-on who became legendary for making the Notre Dame football team.
Redick, let’s make it clear, is no Rudy. And if that hasn’t been evident when he’s made the most of his few opportunities this season, it was quite clear when the Magic practiced Thursday. In one 10-minute scrimmage session, Redick scored 14 of his team’s 16 points, lighting up Bogans and Carlos Arroyo for one long jumper after another.
“I’m confident that given the chance, even in late-game situations and in big-game atmospheres like Phoenix earlier this season, that I can play,” said Redick, who has played just 166 minutes in 20 games. “But the chances have been so few and far between and that’s been frustrating. But as far as doubting my ability, I don’t think you can do that and be a player in this league.”
” I get more questions about J.J. Redick than I do Hedo (Turkoglu), Rashard (Lewis) and Dwight (Howard). I get asked a lot more about J.J.’s playing time than Jameer’s (Nelson),” Van Gundy said incredulously. “There are very few guys who come out of college with a great following because they’re not in college that long. There’s an expectation with high draft picks like Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, but even those guys haven’t developed the fan following coming into the NBA that J.J. has.
“What that does is knock everything out of whack. It’s like there’s this perception that every No. 11 pick should be playing 25 minutes a game on a good team in their second year in the league. That’s not the history of this league. But people want to see J.J. play and I understand that.
“The thing that is frustrating for me is not getting a clear understanding of why I haven’t been given an opportunity,” Redick said. “You can talk about defense all you want but there have been nine or 10 (shooting) guards who have had their season high on us this year. Obviously Mo (Evans) and (Keith) Bogans are solid defenders, but at some point I figured I’d have at least gotten a chance by now and that hasn’t happened. That’s frustrating.”