JJ Redick hasn’t been a full-time NBA analyst for long, yet he has already emerged as one of the most insightful broadcasters in the industry. He has managed to separate himself from the pack in the five months since he announced his retirement from the NBA, and a big reason for that is his refreshing honesty and candidness — even when discussing his former teammates.
This was on display Tuesday morning, when Redick called out Zion Williamson on ESPN’s First Take. The two played together on the New Orleans Pelicans for a season-and-a-half, appearing in 49 games together.
Redick was reacting to CJ McCollum telling TNT that he hadn't heard from Williamson at any point in the two weeks since he'd been traded to New Orleans, and that he had only heard from “some people close to him.” On Tuesday afternoon, McCollum revealed to ESPN that he and Williamson finally had a conversation after his comment blew up over the weekend. But the fact that Williamson has been so distant and seemingly disinterested clearly frustrated Redick.
"This is a little bit insane to me. There’s a general decorum of behavior that you should apply as a teammate,” Redick said on First Take. “Look, I wasn’t the best player on any team that I was on… but I would always reach out to teammates. This just shows a complete lack of investment in your team, in the organization, in the city. I get that he's hurt and away from the team, but you just traded for one of the 50 best players in the league — a guy that's supposed to be paired with you. Reach out and say, 'Hello.'
“This is a pattern of behavior with Zion that we are seeing again and again. I was his teammate; I can describe him as a detached teammate, that is an accurate statement. This is the basic level of humanity as a teammate, sending a text to a guy when he gets traded to your team. That is just normal behavior, the bare minimum that you have to do.
"Yes, he's been amazing when he's been on the court, 100%. He's amazing to watch. There's no one that can do what he does on a basketball court... but as a teammate, there is a pattern of behavior. As a fully invested individual in New Orleans, there's a pattern of behavior. This is worrisome. New Orleans is going to have to make some sort of decision here. We’ve seen this now for three years.”
Redick revealed that he brought up similar concerns to Williamson back when they were teammates during the 2019-20 season, which was Zion’s rookie year.
"This is something I addressed with Zion in front of the team, okay?" Redick said. "This is going back to his rookie year. There's a responsibility that you have as an athlete when you play a team sport to be fully invested. You're fully invested in your body, you're fully invested in your work and you're fully invested in your teammates. That is your responsibility, and we have not seen that from Zion.”