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Will Redick wear Jazz colors?

Duke star among shooters working for Utah on Tuesday

Published: Sunday, Aug. 2 2015 6:42 a.m. MDT

Former Duke University shooting guard J.J. Redick works out for the Utah Jazz Tuesday. (Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News) Former Duke University shooting guard J.J. Redick works out for the Utah Jazz Tuesday. (Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News)
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.
Redick talks about the aspects of his game to members of the media after a workout at the Zions Bank Practice Facility Tuesday. (Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News) Redick talks about the aspects of his game to members of the media after a workout at the Zions Bank Practice Facility Tuesday. (Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News)
"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.
Do they favor Foye, who could be long-gone when they pick? Is their apparent fascination with another Duke product, power forward Shelden Williams, for real? What about one of the other shooting guards who might make sense at 14, like Memphis' Rodney Carney or Arkansas' Ronnie Brewer? Or do they pass on an off-guard, and turn to an also-needed center — say, UConn's Hilton Armstrong or Bradley's Patrick O'Bryant?
Redick has an idea, and can picture coming off a curl to knock down jumpers for Sloan.
"I'm not really worried about what number I get drafted — I want to get drafted to a good situation for me," said Redick, adding he is "a good friend" of the Jazz's 2005 first-round pick, ex-Illinois point guard Deron Williams. "I want to be on a team that's gonna use me the right way — that's gonna give me an opportunity to prove myself. And a good organization. Like the Utah Jazz. That would be a great fit.
"I think this team needs outside shooting. They have a great front line, and a great point guard. They have very solid wings — I'm not saying that they're deficient in that area — but every team needs a little bit of outside shooting, so I think I can help them in that respect."
Shoot, he knows he can.
"To be honest with you, I think that everybody wants to talk about what I can't do — the doubts surrounding my game," Redick said. "But I can do one thing very well, and I can do a lot of things pretty good. And as long as I show that I'm adequate in those other areas, somebody's gonna give me a chance — because I can really shoot the ball."

NOTES: Ex-Jazz power forward Karl Malone attended workouts again Tuesday, the second straight day the NBA's No. 2 all-time scorer has voluntarily observed auditions. . . . Jazz swingman Andrei Kirilenko is one of 10 NBA and WNBA stars to film a public service announcement supporting UNICEF's Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS campaign. The television spot debuts during the upcoming NBA Finals. . . . The Jazz have no more draft workouts scheduled in Utah this week.


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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