Will Redick wear Jazz colors?

Duke star among shooters working for Utah on Tuesday

Published: Wednesday, May 31 2006 12:00 a.m. MDT

The Jazz are desperately seeking a shooter.

J.J. Redick can shoot. Oh, can he ever shoot.

"The best shooter in all of college basketball," raves HoopsHype.com.

But is "shoot" all the Duke University product can do? And, if so, how should that affect his stock?

Those may be topics of great debate for Jazz brass — and Jazz fans, too — as the franchise contemplates whom it should select at No. 14 overall in the June 28 NBA Draft.

They're also seemingly sore subjects with Redick, the reigning Naismith Trophy and Wooden Award winner — and one of four shooting guards to work out Tuesday in Utah, along with Villanova's Randy Foye, West Virginia's Mike Gansey and Australian Brad Newley.

In fact, the 6-foot-4 Redick gets downright defensive — there's some irony — over mere mention of the suggestions.

"I think it's stupid," he said of such criticism, the sharpest of which centers on his defense. "I don't think a guy would be consensus national player of the year, two-time first-team all-American, (Atlantic Coast Conference) all-time leader scorer — I can go on — if he couldn't just flat-out play.

"Especially coming from a program like Duke."

Yet it doesn't take a computer-science degree from an Ivy League wannabe to Google that rap, and others:

  • Nbadraft.net: "His defense will . . . need work as he lacks both size and strength."

  • HoopsHype.com: "Slightly undersized and just an average athlete. . . . Terrible NCAA tournament performance a huge setback?"

  • ESPN.com: "Much of the reason for his hot and cold tendencies lies in his shot-selection, not mechanics . . . Defense needs improvement."

Every dot-com rip, though, is countered with mounds of praise for Redick's shooting.

And from those who saw his stroke first-hand Tuesday — media members did not, as the Jazz hold auditions behind closed doors — there was way more praise than disparagement.

"He's a tremendous shooter, a tremendous player — and, you know, he's not one-dimensional," said Gansey, who also worked out with Redick and Foye last Friday for Golden State (which picks No. 9). "He can take you to the hoop, he can defend. He can do a lot of things out there. I just think people don't really realize that."

"I don't think it's a fair knock. I really don't," Jazz basketball operations senior vice president Kevin O'Connor said Redick's perceived defensive deficiencies. "I think Duke's always been known to play defense, and I think he's been a good defender. . . . I think what's fair to say is he didn't guard the (opponents') best offensive players some of the time, (because) they needed him to be on the court to do the (offensive) things he did."

Besides, O'Connor suggested, hardly anyone's two-way game is perfect.

And with the Jazz still seeking the consistent outside shooting from the 2-spot they've not had since the 2000 retirement of Jeff Hornacek — who wasn't the world's greatest defender, either — that's a tradeoff coach Jerry Sloan and the rest of the organization must weigh.

"One of the things we all get caught up in is what (prospects) 'can't do,' or what they 'don't do as well as other things,' " O'Connor said when asked how scouts project if great college players can elevate their game to the NBA. "You (should) try to look at what they do well, and how that translates — and you accept the rest of it."

For now, then, no one can be certain what the Jazz find acceptable.

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