Where will J.J. go?

Story by Chris Graham

The jury was still out on where J.J. Redick would fit in next week’s NBA draft before the news about his ailing back hit the newswire.

And now you have to factor in his arrest for drunken-driving charges from last week.

The question on the minds of many in the draft cognoscenti as the clock ticks down to June 27 – where will J.J. go?

“Everything got a lot murkier these past few days – first off with the DWI and second with the news about his back, which we’re still getting more information on. Before that, I would have agreed with his agent, Arn Tellem, that he could be drafted anywhere from seven to 14. Now it’s hard to say – some of the NBA people I talk to say that it’s not going to affect his stock, some people are saying that there’s no way that he goes in the first round,” said Jonathan Givony, an analyst with draftexpress.com and hoopshype.com.

“I can’t recall an instance where this kind of stuff came out two weeks before the draft. I would imagine that it would drop his stock down five to 10 spots, probably – unless a team feels so good about where he is that it’s not going to affect what they think,” Givony told The Augusta Free Press.

Other draft watchers see the bad news for Redick as being more in the way of a minor blip on the radar for the former Duke star – who was the Associated Press player of the year for 2005-2006 after averaging 26.8 points per game and leading the Blue Devils to the Sweet 16.

“If you want to be cynical, you could say that the fact that he’s already been arrested tells you he’s already assimilating into the NBA culture, and that should help his draft stock. But I don’t want to be cynical,” Jim Johnson, who covers Atlantic Coast Conference basketball for The Courtmaster and The Duke Basketball Report, told the AFP.

“I don’t think Redick’s draft status is affected by his DUI. If a team loved him before the arrest, they will still like him enough to take him,” Josh Redetzke of nbadraft.net told the AFP.

“There might be a team that was on the fence between him and another player, and his arrest could turn that team away, but overall it probably won’t affect him. If it came out that he had a problem with alcoholism, that would be more serious. For now, I think it will be brushed off as just a kid doing something stupid,” Redetzke said.

“It’s not like the NBA is full of role models. But it is another question mark – and another question mark is not going to help when you consider the questions about his size and his lack of real NBA athleticism,” Jeff Fox of collegehoops.net told the AFP.

That gets us back to the part about how the jury was still out on the Roanoke native before his life became a soap opera. Fox pointed to recent reports that Redick was raising eyebrows with team executives who were surprised at the athleticism they saw from him in private workouts as being a good sign for the 6-4 sharpshooter.

“That was something that was considered one of his weaknesses coming in. Obviously, he can shoot the ball, so that’s never been a question,” Fox said.

The part about there being no question about Redick’s shooting ability is clearly the case – Redick shot 47 percent from the floor in ’05-’06, which is significant in light of the fact that more than half of his field-goal attempts were from behind the three-point arc.

“I think he’s going to be a good NBA player, with the possibility to become a very good one – maybe all-star level. He’s got such a good offensive game – and he wouldn’t be able to play in the league if he couldn’t play defense. That’s going to be the most interesting thing to see – is how a team will sort of hide him on defense until he gets his feet wet,” Johnson said.

“With his scoring ability, he’s going to be a valuable NBA player,” Johnson said.

Redetzke sees Redick becoming valuable right away if one of the teams rumored to be interested in acquiring his services, the Houston Rockets, who have the eighth pick in the first round of next week’s draft, get David Stern to call his name for them.

“They would be a perfect match,” Redetzke said.

“While I watched Redick’s drives get repeatedly blocked in the LSU game by Tyrus Thomas and others, I couldn’t help thinking that it foreshadowed what would happen to him in the NBA. He isn’t going to be a drive-to-the-hoop player in the league. He won’t be a distributor or defender, either. He will be a great shooter, though. He makes a good fit for the Rockets because all he has to do is stand out on the three-point line and make teams pay for double-teaming Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady,” Redetzke said.

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