JJ Redick knows the first impression of him is less than favorable if it comes before a game.
“Some people think I can be (a bleep) sometimes,” said the 76ers shooting guard, whose regimented pregame routine doesn’t allow for chitchat.
He’ll be respectful to folks who say hello by responding with a “Hi” while quickly walking through the locker room. But there’s definitely no time for interviews or even small talk in front of his locker.
“My pregame routine is literally by the minute,” he said. “I have a plan, I have a goal for every minute.”
That even involves when and what to eat.
The 33-year-old always has a coconut granola bar and water with Gatorlytes right before the scheduled team meeting 35 minutes before tipoff. At halftime, he always eats a piece of fruit.
But everything from lacing up his sneakers to putting on his uniform is scheduled.
“When you deliberate about building habits, those habits start to become second nature and they stop being deliberate,” Redick said. “You do it enough over the years and it becomes who you are.”
That has a lot to do with why he doesn’t get caught up with statistics — at least not in early January. Redick knows everything is destined to fall into place.
Through 32 games, he’s averaging career highs in points (17.1 per game), rebounds (2.6), free-throw percentage (.947) and minutes played (33.1). Yet, the Sixers signed Redick to a $23 million, 1-year deal in July in large part because he’s one of the league’s elite 3-point shooters.
However, his 3-point percentage (.395) is the lowest its been since 2013-14, when he shot 39.5 percent in his first season with the Los Angeles Clippers. Since then, he has shot 43.7 percent (2014-15), a career-best 47.5 percent (2015-16) and 42.9 (2016-17).
Redick has been shooting 44.7 recently from 3-point land over the past six games following a rough patch in the six games prior to that (34.5 percent).
“Those things are kind of ebb and flow,” he said. “I believe at some point I’m going to be at 42, 43 percent. I shot (41.4) for my career. So I’ll be around that at the end of the season.”
Realizing things come in ebbs and flows is one difference between many professional athletes and some people who are not, he said. Redick believes pros have to be mentally tough enough to deal with a series of highs and lows.
“Most people aren’t,” Redick said. “That’s just the reality. Most professional athletes I see don’t get concerned with slumps. Why? I put in all the work I do. That’s not a concern of mine.”
He recalled how he started 3-for-25 on 3-pointers during his fifth season, in 2010-11 with Orlando, and ended up shooting 39.7 percent. Then in 2014-15 with the Clippers, he averaged nine shots at around 37 percent from the field through his first 10 games. He ended that campaign averaging a career-high 16.4 points.
“So again, I learned enough to know that it’s all going to sort of balance out in the end,” he said. “That is one of the things I love about the NBA (season), just how it evolves.”
The player evolves, the team evolves, and the way a team plays evolves, he’ll tell you. Redick said you just have to embrace that.
“Whether that’s good or bad for me, I don’t care as long if the team is evolving and getting better,” he says.
The Sixers (17-19) take a two-game winning streak into Wednesday’s matchup against the San Antonio Spurs at the Wells Fargo Center. This marks the first time they’ve won consecutive games since three straight victories from Nov. 20 to 25.
Media members looking to speak to Redick before the game better make arrangements to do so during the morning shootaround. Folks looking to chat it up with him during pregame will be disappointed.
While shooting might be an ebb and flow, the way he prepares for games is not. And that preparation and focus have enabled him to become one of the league’s elite 3-point shooters.