Duke Basketball: J.J. Redick setting NBA record for aging like whiskey

(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

At age 34, the purest Duke basketball shooter of all time is on his way to becoming the oldest NBA player to ever set a points-per-game career high.

A lesson for kids: You don’t have to be a phenomenal athlete to be a phenomenal basketball player. However, if your vertical leap does more closely resemble that of a hippo than Zion Williamson, you ought to consider studying and mimicking the shooting form of former Duke basketball player and 13-year NBA veteran J.J. Redick.

A lesson for 30-somethings: You don’t have to accept the notion that your athletic prime is in the past. However, if your gut does now more closely resemble a keg than a six-pack, you ought to consider drawing inspiration from the work ethic of Redick.

The 34-year-old — who became the Duke basketball program’s all-time scoring leader (2,769) while starring in Durham from 2002-06 — is averaging a career-high 18.4 points per game this season, his second with the Philadelphia 76ers.

More from Ball Durham

And according to Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype, other than an ought-not-to-count career high set by another former Blue Devil — Dahntay Jones, who transferred from Rutgers and played for Duke during the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons — Redick’s scoring average this season (so long as it ends higher than his previous-best 17.1 average from last season) will represent a new standard for aging in the league. Kalbrosky explains:

"“Among those who played at least five seasons in the NBA, there has only been one player older than Redick to post a career high in scoring. That would be Dahntay Jones, who appeared in just one game during the 2015-16 season but scored 13 points that evening. This very small sample size essentially disqualifies him from the argument, though.”"

Of course, Redick could completely squash the argument if he continues to prove that age is just a number by besting his career high again next season or beyond — based on the totality of his seasons ever since turning 30, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if he was to do exactly that. The 11th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft has scored more total points in each season since turning 30 than he did in any of the eight seasons prior to his 30th birthday.

Also, in each season since turning 30, the 6-foot-4, 190-pounder from Roanoke, Va., has played in at least 70 games, a mark he only reached twice during his 20s.

And like his team, Redick — who has been a starter across the past 12 games — is showing no signs of slowing down as of late. On Sunday night, he scored a game-high 24 points (9-for-17 from the field and 3-for-6 from beyond the arc) during the 76ers’ 103-95 home win against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Philadelphia has now won four straight and nine of its past 11 — not likely just a coincidence that this stretch has coincided with Redick’s insertion into the starting lineup — and sits third in the Eastern Conference with a 17-8 record (3.5 games back of the first-place Toronto Raptors). The 76ers’ next game is at Toronto on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST on ESPN.

So if you are a kid who is discouraged by being one of the slowest players on your rec team, tune in and pay attention to how Redick makes up for his athletic deficiencies by working hard — and smart — to find his shots.

Related Story. Top five shooting guards of the Coach K era. light

And if you are a 30-something couch potato — this Ball Durham writer included — pay attention to how Redick refuses to use his nearing middle age as an excuse to slow down.