Thursday, February 17, 2005

Salim or Redick: That is the Question

In his latest column at CBS Sportsline, Gregg Doyel rants about Lute Olson and how Lute should keep his mouth shut instead of consistently making comparisons between J.J. Redick and Salim Stoudamire. It is obvious and very true that many of the media people love Redick for his shooting ability and how he has carried Duke this season. Duke is on TV basically every week, which allows the members of the media as well as college basketball fans to see J.J. Redick at his best. Now I know that Redick is a great shooter. But is Redick the best shooter in the country? And is it bad that Lute Olson continues to stick up for his senior shooting guard Salim Stoudamire? I tend to disagree with the column by Doyel and let me tell you why.

Lute Olson has a right that every human being has, and that is of free speech. He has the right to support Salim Stoudamire and call him the best shooter in the country if he wants too. I do not see why Doyel thinks that is such a bad crime to do such a thing. When Mack Brown spoke out in late November and said that his team deserved a BCS bowl game, some people in the media tended to think that it was wrong of him to do so. I was of this opinion at first too, before I realized that there was nothing wrong with doing that. Brown thought his team deserved a BCS bowl game, so that is what he said. Lute Olson thinks Salim is the best shooter in the country, and that is exactly what he said. What is so wrong with that? Am I missing something here?

When you look at the stats, Salim is the best shooter in the country. From the Sportsline article,

"There's a bit of information (our publicist) shared with me about Redick being the best shooter in the country," Olson began. If he hit 71 consecutive field goals, he'd reach Salim's field goal percentage shooting. If Redick made 53 consecutive 3-pointers, he'd tie Salim for 3-point field-goal percentage. How in the world can somebody continue to go on TV and say Redick is the greatest shooter in the country?"

The one person in particular that Lute is referring to is Dick Vitale. Dickie V is a big fan of Redick and he always raves about Redick. Watch the next Duke game on ESPN that Vitale is announcing and you will recognize this within a few minutes. Some people are of the opinion that Vitale has always been a Duke supporter and that he now has fallen in love with Redick over his 3 years at Duke. I would estimate that Vitale has announced at least 5 of Duke's games this year. I know for a fact that he announced both Maryland games, Wake Forest and North Carolina games. I am sure that he has done other Duke games that I have forgotten, or that I may not have watched. I do not think that Vitale has done any Arizona games so far this year (correct me if I'm wrong). The Pac 10 has a schedule where they play games on Thursdays and Saturdays and most of those games are carried by Fox Sports Net. So, while it is Dickie V's opinion that Redick is the best shooter in the country, I am curious to find out if he right in making that statement.

Both Redick and Salim are great players. Both can shoot the 3 as well as drive to the hoop. But when making a comparison it helps to look at the numbers. And if you trust the numbers they prove that Salim is a better 3-point shooter. Some people might say that Redick gets more attention from opposing teams, but that is definitely not true. Both Redick and Salim lead their teams in scoring, and opposing teams come into games knowing that they have to shut down these players in order to have a chance to win. There are many quotes out there from coaches and announcers who favor one of these players or another. One quote comes from USC interim coach Jim Saia who was mentioned in this article as saying,

"On Thursday night, USC interim coach Jim Saia said Stoudamire might be the best college basketball shooter ever."

At ESPN, they keep track of the top 25 players that lead college basketball in 3-point shooting percentage. Salim is leading college basketball shooting just a little under 55 percent for the season from beyond the arc. Where is J.J. Redick on this list? He is nowhere to be found, because to be in the top 25 in 3-point shooting percentage a player must be shooting .485 from downtown. What is Redick's percentage, you ask? Redick is shooting .417 on 3-point shooting for the year.

All I am trying to point out in this article is that if your going to make a statement, such as the one Dick Vitale has made on many occasions it helps to be able to back it up. Vitale is entitled to have his opinion, and many other people in the media agree with him. There is no question that Redick is an amazing shooter, and that he has range that some of us only wish we had. But is he the best shooter in the country? That is a question that can be debated for hours and hours.

What I recommend for those who might have seen only one of these players shoot, and not the other is this: watch Oregon State at Arizona at 4:30, and then Wake Forest at Duke at 6:30 all on FSN this Sunday. Now I realize that to properly answer the question of who is a better shooter it would be better to watch every single game of both of these players, but in the sake of time this is a good place to start. Also, one of these players could have an off night on Sunday and therefore lead some people to believe that that player is not as good as the other. What I am hoping for is a Duke vs. Arizona game in the tournament. Not only would this be a great game to watch, it would help us settle the debate of who is a better shooter. These players would be going against each other, and would probably be guarding each other every time down court. That would be a dream come true for college basketball fans, as they would see two of the best shooters face off against each other, in a winner goes on, loser goes home type of game. Until that game happens, this subject is open for debate. So as I end this article, I'm curious to as to who you think is the better shooter: Salim or Redick? I look forward to reading your comments on this interesting, and easily debatable subject.



At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The percentage numbers clearly favor Stoudamire, but I think if you've watched enough of his games, you know that he gets a lot more open shots than Redick. Redick simply has more of the offense run through him (even though Stoudamire is a point guard). He's the top scorer in the country from a major conference. He has the other team's top defender all over him every night. And he plays against better teams in the ACC than Stoudamire in the Pac-10. One major difference you'll notice is that Redick has made more than twice as many threes as Stoudamire.

Bottom line, its hard to say who is better. Redick uses the 3 more as a weapon. He looks for it more (and takes more shots, period). Stoudamire takes more threes on kickouts from Frye, transition openings, etc., where there is no defender in his grill. I suspect if they were alone in a gym shooting 3s with no defense, it would be very close (and a whole lot of shots would be falling).

One difference between the Lute Olson and Mack Brown quotes. Olson is simply backing his player. He's saying "Hey, look at my guy. He's good and nobody sees him play, so nobody knows just how good he is." I respect that. Brown made his comments for one reason and one reason only - to sway voters in polls, so his team would make the Rose bowl (though they didn't deserve it). I see a big difference there. If I were a coach, I'd tout my best players for recognition and post season awards. But I wouldn't beg voters for their votes - the team's play on the field/court should take care of that.

At 7:49 PM, Blogger matt said...

Thanks for stopping by and posting a very intelligent comment.

I agree with most of the points you have made. However, I do not think that Salim gets more open looks than J.J. Salim is the shooting guard just like J.J. because Mustafa Shakur plays the point for Arizona. I think Salim and J.J. are both covered extremely tight, and it is very hard for either of them to get open looks.

Duke does play in a tougher conference than Arizona. However according to
Duke's schedule of strength is 7 and Arizona's is 12. Also, from that site it lists that the ACC is the top conference and the Pac 10 as the second top conference. Take that for what its worth, as I do not trust the RPI as much as others do. When a team is 26-0 as Illinois is, and they are still not #1 you know something has to be a little wrong.

You also said that Salim takes more 3's from kickouts from Frye. I think that since J.J. has Sheldon Williams on his team, these two sharpshooters probably take about the same amount of 3's from kickouts from their big men.

You are right that there is a difference b/w what Mack Brown said and Lute Olson said. I was just trying to point out that some coaches will speak their mind regardless of what people think. In any case, you are correct in saying that Lute was sticking up for Salim, while Brown just wanted to sway voters.

Thanks again for the comment and taking the time to read the article. I thought your comment was well put, and thought out, and I hope you enjoy the blog and comment again.


At 2:14 PM, Blogger Drew said...

Great stuff. Thought I'd drop you a line to introduce a new blog.

Dedicated to Pardon The Interruption, it's called Pardon The Eruption.Feel free to check it out! Thanks!

At 9:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry man but ur wrong you can compare Salim to Redick but i mean look Redick has Shelden Williams in the post and thats IT. There is nothing else Redick is shootin 93% from the free throw line and is the best free throw shooter in America. J.J is the best shooter in america and since J.J is Dukes only real scoring option besides Williams he takes more shots then Salim and has to force more with bigger opponent such as Wake (2) Maryland(2) NC (2) and Nc. State dont be hating Redick.........from love DUKIE FAN

At 1:10 AM, Blogger matt said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I disagree with you though. J.J. has more than just Sheldon. What about Daniel Ewing? Williams is averaging 15.9 points a game, while Ewing is averaging 15.6. Duke obviously has 3 scorers, as any analyst would admit.

Salim is shooting 93% from the free throw line too. Check out his stats.

J.J. has taken 371 shots this year, while Salim has taken 300. Both players have played appr. 25 games so far this year, so that means J.J. takes about 3 more shots per game than Salim, which is a decent margin, but I'm not sure what it proves.

J.J. might play in the best conference according to RPI, but dont forget that the Pac 10 is #2 in RPI behind the ACC. Both players play against great opponents every night.

I think J.J. is an awesome player, an awesome shoooter, and a great leader. But in terms of who is the better shooter, I would take Salim.


At 10:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

REDICK ALL THE WAY. FREE THROW PERCENTAGE IS IT. I respect Salim too but he is taller and a year older. Lets see how redick does next year. GO DUKE.

At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like both players but you have to take redick. Salim is a great shooter, but JJ doesn't have as great of a supporting cast as Salim does. JJ is also forced to take three pointers about 5 feet beyond the arc, and still swish them and i rarely see Salim do that. I also disagree with the fact that say that Arizona has a harder schedule than duke becasue its not even close. Lastly if i had to choose someone to take my game winning shot it would be JJ (remember the Wake Forest game where he scored like 9 points or something like that in less than a minute)

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