Bucksketball Podcast

Do the Bucks need Michael Redd?

| November 17, 2009

Category: Bucks Player Features

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It’s the pressing question that is surprising to say the least.  I mean, the guy was once given a $90 million contract.  He’s likely going to end his career the Bucks all-time leading scorer.  He’s averaged over 20 points in six consecutive years.  Is it simply a case of a favorable schedule lining up for the Bucks at the right time, or is there really something to this current squad’s makeup.  The question is being tossed around Milwaukee with vivacity these days.

Are the Bucks better off without Michael Redd?

Even though I might be in the minority, I say no.  Many people are ready to dump Redd for expiring contracts, just to get him off the books.  Well it’s typically not that easy.  Teams have been gearing up for this off-season for the last few years, so taking back a player whose contract isn’t up for another two years isn’t high on everyone’s to do list.  Even if the Bucks were offered large expiring contracts that likely keeps them from being a serious threat to the playoffs this year, and if the Memphis Grizzlies have shown us anything, it’s that it’s hard to develop young players on consistently poor performing teams.  The Bucks would better serve the development of their young guys (not to mention satisfy the hunger of the guys who have been here for a few years) by making a playoff push this year.

If you haven’t yet, check out Alex’s recap of Monday’s game over at BrewHoop.  You’ll notice he points out the Bucks free throw shooting woes as one of the reasons they lost last night and one of their most pressing issues going forward.  Not only do the Bucks shoot poorly from the line, they almost never get there.  For all the wonderful things Brandon Jennings has done, get to the free throw line a bunch hasn’t been one of them.  He’s averaging roughly five attempts per game.  In Redd’s injury plagued 2008-09 season that’s about what he managed, but he’s typically good for seven free throw attempts a game.  When the competition gets tougher and the other team is rolling, those will really come in handy.

Part of the reason for the struggles at the line has been the limitations in the respective games of Redd’s primary replacements, Charlie Bell and Jodie Meeks. Combined, Bell and Meeks have attempted 13 free throws in 14 games.  Bell isn’t terrible, but he’s not very good either.  He’s been hitting the three point shot with some regularity, which is something the Bucks need from him off the bench, but when he’s forced into a primary role, he’s simply not talented enough to contribute what a typical starting two guard does.  In shooting guards who’ve played at least eight games, Bell ranks seventh from the bottom in PER.

As for Meeks?  Was his 5-for-7 from three point range outburst against the Knicks a mirage?  It has been the exception thus far rather than the rule.  After that game he was all but anointed starting shooting guard for the next decade, but it’s clear he’s not quite that good of a shooter for real.  A lot of his shots seem to hit the front of the rim. I don’t know if that’s an issue with him not using his legs or some other mechanical thing, but I think it’s a good sign he’s missing the same way often, makes it seem more “fixable”.  Meeks athleticism has been a pleasant surprise, but it hasn’t translated into many trips to the line.  He’s been getting by his man, but not doing much once he does.

Meeks and Bell combine for a PER of 18.7 … or 1.2 points lower than Michael Redd’s career number.  For Redd’s flaws he still can be a factor offensively.  No, he shouldn’t ever try to dunk again, but that doesn’t mean he can’t absorb some contact and be an efficient scorer.  The Bucks struggles over the years have fallen on Redd, and semi-rightly so (his contract was/is an albatross that prevented the Bucks from doing some things.  Though Larry Harris probably would have screwed up in some other way had he not given Redd those dollars.) but Redd has never had a point guard like Brandon Jennings before.  Frankly, Redd has never had a teammate like Jennings, but look at Redd’s starting point guards since he took over for Ray Allen.

Year Point Guard
2003-04 TJ Ford
Damon Jones
2004-05 Mo Williams
2005-06 Ford
Williams
2006-07 Williams
Earl Boykins
2007-08 Williams
Ramon Sessions
Royal Ivey
2008-09 Luke Ridnour
Ramon Sessions

Not exactly a hall of fame roster.  Williams was a good scorer, but never known for his distributing, while Ford was the exact opposite.  Earl Boykins?  Royal Ivey?  These are the guys getting Redd the ball and sharing the load in the back court with him?

Jennings talked yesterday about Redd coming back and being the number two option after Andrew Bogut. While I’m sure the Mo Williams’ of the world said those types of things, rarely did we see him make a concerted effort to get Redd going.  No, the poor quality of players next to him doesn’t absolve all of his sins, but playing with Jennings may prove to be a revelation for Redd.

He certainly has been one for those of us watching him.

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About the Author ()

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball. He founded it in January of 2009 because he hated his job. It’s like basketball, but with Bucks instead of basket. I know ... I’m sorry. He might come off as a bit negative, but I'm really not so bad. He just wants the Bucks to succeed, so he points out areas where they are coming up short. Someone has got to do it and he's ornery and opinionated enough to take on that task. He isn't sure if this should be in third person or not. Contact him at Jeremy@Bucksketball.com if you must use e-mail.

Comments (21)

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  1. Mike Lynch says:

    This Bucks team reminds me of another Skiles-coached squad, the 06-07 Chicago Bulls (49-33, and a first-round sweep of the defending champion Miami Heat). Following that comparison, I’d be interested to see Redd play the role of 06-07 Ben Gordon — coming off the bench as a super-sixth man. If he plays 30-35 minutes per game, he’ll be able to preserve his health and provide a crunch time scoring boost, as well as the FTA you pointed out.

    This hinges on Redd’s ability to accept his new role on the Bucks, as he’s no longer forced to shoulder the entire scoring load. If he’s comfortable coming off the bench, if he’s comfortable with around 15 FG attempts per game… ultimately, if Redd is comfortable transitioning into more of a role-player, then the Bucks can expect to see the same type of success the 06-07 Bulls saw.

  2. Brian says:

    I hate to disagree with you on this one, Jeremy, but it’s tough to really say “let’s make a playoff push this year”, especially considering that the offseason indicated nothing but the fact that we were rebuilding, and rebuilding on the cheap. Yes, the playoffs should be a goal, and with or without Redd I think it’s attainable, but ridding ourselves of Jefferson, and saying bye bye to Ramon and Charlie was purely financial, with the future in mind. After having this string of great basketball, mainly without Redd, I think it’s fair to say that we’re better off continuing our facelift without him. If we were able to get expiring deals for Redd, and still made the playoffs, and Jennings and Bogut continued to play as well as they have, we might be apt to scoring a decent/really good free agent in the 2010 sweepstakes anyway. We took a risk with BJ3, we took a risk with letting our free agents walk, we took a risk with shipping out RJ, why be conservative now and keep the star of the “old Bucks”. It’s time for our new generation to shine.

  3. Bizzucks says:

    I’m excited to see Redd come back. I have never been a fan of his except maybe in his first couple years when he wasn’t quite such a shoot-aholic. I just think that so far everyone has benefitted from Jennings being on the floor, and I think that Redd will be no exception. I am a bit worried about Jennings being a little too cocky, I think he may start forcing things and causing a rift on the team about who’s team it really is, especially when he can’t come through like last night. He is a talented, but he is a rookie too. He would be well served to start focusing a little more on assists and a little less being a hero. I stress “a little”.

  4. Jeremy says:

    Mike – The only question I have about Redd coming off the bench is can Bell be efficient enough to keep in the starting lineup? My personal preference would be bringing Warrick off the bench in the “instant offense” role, even though he’s not the prototype shooter that often gets that role. He can get to the line enough to fill it.

    Brian – The future is obviously where it’s at for the Bucks. I’d be in favor of a Redd trade if it could net someone that would be a prominent contributor down the road i.e. a Beaubois or JJ Hickson from the Cavs. Trading him for expiring’s (example would be something like Boozer and Harpring (and Boozer would be a best case scenario)) doesn’t seem to serve much purpose. If the Bucks get cap room, who are they bringing in? Who wants to come play in Milwaukee? Another Bobby Simmons? That’s just the trouble with having nothing but cap room. If a good young player is acquired that changes everything.

    Bizzucks – I’m fairly confident that the buzz of him being too cocky was premature. He’s been the perfect teammate thus far, but as you said it’s been clear so far that it’s his team. He’s referred to Bogut as the team’s leader though every time I’ve seen him speak. It was encouraging that his first comment yesterday was that he should have passed on the last play. He’d be averaging seven or eight assists if people were hitting shots and finishing.

  5. Kyle says:

    You love JJ Hickson more than his parents do.

    Best case scenario – Redd comes back, plays well, stays healthy for a couple of months…and then a contender loses a key player to injury. If he is playing well, he could be an attractive piece to add, for a contending team…especially one that (hypothetically) loses someone to injury.

    Worst case scenario – Bucks end up paying every dime of that contract.

  6. Milwaukee_Buck says:

    Keeping Redd may be the only, but best option. The Bucks need to win to draw in their fans. No playoff run in the next 2-3 years will lead to speculation about the franchise being moved to another city. I think its unquestioned that Redd will help in the win column for the next 2 seasons. Additionally, his leadership will help develop Meeks as Ray Allen did Redd. To keep Jennings after his rookie contract, the Bucks will have to win so his impression of the dedication to winning in the city stays positive. The great part is that Redd, Gadzuric, and Ridnour will be out of their contracts which are painful for the organization right now. Hopefully if they are all productive, the Bucks resign them all, just at a much more reasonable price tag. And its somewhat unnecessary to clear cap space before then, who is available in 2010 that would be willing to play for Milwaukee instead of Miami, Chicago, New Jersey, New York, or the winning teams that are in that championship race? We’re not shooting for D Wade or Lebron. We’re unlikely shooting for Bosh or Amare. We’re looking at duplicates of Redd like Joe Johnson as the big names that might be willing or available who will all be looking to sign contracts that they don’t deserve. Again, keeping Reed is probably the best option.

    On the flip side, if they do decide to trade Redd. There aren’t many good options out there. There are a few aging teams that are title contenders that could really use him, but thats about it. Most teams wouldn’t take him in exchange for nothing, based on his contract alone. The Spurs or Mavericks are probably the best targets, because they look like they might need another big piece to win a title this year and their shot is now before Dirk/Kidd retire or Duncan retires. The Cavs may look at him because they need to win to keep Lebron in free agency. Packaging him, which is scary for us Bucks fans looking at our trade history, may open a few doors and lure teams it. Whatever they package please don’t even consider Ersan, LRMAM, Jennings, or Bogut. Warrick is probably the best trade bait to package him with especially if he continues to not work out with Skiles defensive mindse, his contract is small and will expire, and he can help out now off the bench. The Spurs I think would really entertain that option as well as the Mavs or Cavs, but are still unlikely to give up anyone who is starting currently on their rosters. Therefore, the Cavs have nothing to offer. A trade pkg of Redd & Warrick with the Mavs works well for Beaubois and a 2010 1st rnd pick (considering it will be like 28th) or Humpries. The same trade pkg for DeJuan Blair and a 2010 1st Rnd Pick (same consideration). Both options offer solid potential at needed positions, small contracts, and still may lead to a playoff birth for Milwaukee. For the Spurs or Mavs, they will have guys who can contribute BIG right now and get them much closer to a championship this season.

  7. Jeremy says:

    Kyle, you know I’ve always been high on him and the Bucks need a POWER forward. He fits that bill.

    Milwaukee_Bucks – Well said, well said and well said. It’s overlooked that he could be helpful to Meeks, but he could absolutely show him a thing or two. Being saddled with Joe Johnson on the downside of his career after logging about a million minutes with the Hawks would be a disaster. With regard to the trading of Redd, the Mavs would have to include someone like Dampier or Howard to make salaries match-up and that’s where it gets dicey. Is Redd healthy going to help more than a healthy Howard? And contract wise, that’s before adding in Warrick (who can’t be traded until after Dec. 15 btw).

    It certainly is important that the Bucks not only prove they want to be a winning team later, but now too if the opportunity is there. That’s the only way fans will come back. They want to see winners now and winners in the future.

  8. Milwaukee_Buck says:

    @Jeremy – I wasn’t suggesting that we want Joe Johnson, I’m saying there won’t be much available to the Bucks this offseason in free agency that they would actually like to acquire. I’m saying guys like Joe Johnson are going to go to a team like New York if they get Bosh or Amare but not D Wade or Lebron for a rediculously undeserved contract due to all of the hype. I’m pretty sure the Bucks aren’t concerned with paying Mike Redd’s contract so much as they are concerned with acquiring talented young players to surround Jennings and Bogut. They woud be better off to strap in several million dollars to help the Mavs or Spurs with the salary matching. Dampier has no value in Milwaukee, none. He’ll get the next spot to Kurt Thomas’ left. It’d be much smarter to just give the Mavs the money for Dampier’s salary to keep him and request their pick or Humphries. Same again for San Antonio. Same for Cleveland cuz I agree JJ Hickson might be a good acquisition too plus the Cavs were high on signing Warrick too.

  9. Jeremy says:

    Buck – Oh, I know you weren’t suggesting that they get Johnson, I think you were completely right that he’d be the best guy they could land (or at least a second tier guy LIKE him) and it would be awful. He’s a second tier guy and is a supporting guy to a team that gets the Lebron or Wade. He shouldn’t be a centerpiece. We’re on the same exact page there.

    The Dampier thing: I think teams can only kick in around $3 million in trades so they’d have to take a large contract back to get rid of Redd if that’s what they wanted to do. The Mavs are at/over the salary cap line so they can’t just take on Redd.

  10. Nate Dogg says:

    Personally, I believe that the Bucks are fine where they are at. John Hammond is an experienced GM and will know what is best for now and the future. The Bucks would not be better off trading Redd, because they still need good characters to teach the young Bucks what is right and wrong. 2011 is not too far to wait. The Bucks still got a chance to further solidify themselves from the inside (through the Draft). Their true weakness is the power forward position and that should be addressed before the 2011 season.

    With that being said, I have a belief that we will see Redd retire in a Bucks jersey. He simply is not going to be able to score a big contract if he chooses to leave Milwaukee. The Bucks need to focus on drafting solid role players to build around the Jennings-Bogut threat. Moute is very fine player and fits the Scott Skiles mold. Him and Ersan need to be kept for years to come. Someday, Meeks may overtake Redd’s position, but I think we will find a SG to draft before then.

    Answering the question, I do not think Redd should be traded, because no one is out there looking for a 30 year with knee problems. All of us Bucks fan just need to wait until 2011, because that’s when we will what John Hammond has done with this team. For the time being, I think we should enjoy watching the Bucks and hope for the playoffs instead of worrying about Redd. I’m so excited to see what the 1-2 punch of Jennings-Bogut will be like in 4 years.

  11. Rob says:

    Gentleman,

    I am not a Bucks fan but I am a Brandon Jennings fan…although I find myself becoming one. I’ve been on him since over two years ago when he first committed to play for my boys, the University of Arizona. Even though he didn’t work out for us, I am glad to see Jennings having the success he is having, the success I knew he would. Anyway, Jennings is the man, he is a special player, but he needs help and that’s why he needs Redd out there. He needs a guy that he knows will finish off a play, hit a shot and demand the defenses’ attention.

    Jennings is a stud. Those 9 teams that past on him, especially the Knicks, who took my boy Jordan Hill (who I love), are retarded…all those GM’s should be fired. All you have to do is watch this kids high school highlight tapes to know he is special. Their loss is the Bucks gain and so far it has been amazing to see. Like I said, I am not a Bucks fan yet I am on this site because of Jennings and only Jennings. There are other like me.

  12. Jeremy says:

    Nate – Patience is going to be important for Bucks fans. Hammond clearly has a plan, which is a change from previous regimes. It’s refreshing actually. Asking for patience when a team has lost as much as the Bucks have of late can be difficult, but I think it will be rewarded.

    Rob – You’re not here for my commentary? Ha ha. I kid, I kid. That certainly is the best thing that Jennings has done, made the MIlwaukee Bucks relevant. As Hammond said on Milwaukee radio today, he’s worth the price of admission.

  13. Rob says:

    Jeremy

    I came because of Jennings, and I’ll probably be around all year cause of you ;) Seriously though, I don’t know how long this will last but I think any fan of the NBA is loving the Bucks right now.

    I don’t know much about the Bucks history, but it def seemed like they were going to be the worst team in the L with the off-season moves made by management. So far they have been a pleasant surprise and Jennings has been a revelation to most. I really hope he keeps it up as well as the other young guys like Bogut and Luc.

    You have to wonder, if Redd can stay healthy, perhaps he could actually have his best year yet, at least as far as his impact on games, playing with the current group of Bucks. Perhaps, he would have nailed a game winner last night? I’m sure he is motivated by all the excitement building around the team.

  14. ExMemphisfan16 says:

    Ever since the Grizz signed AI I have been looking for a new team to pull for. I have always been a fan of Redd and Bogut and I love Jennings so far so I believe my loyalties lie in Milwaukee. But I digress, Redd should be kept around for a few reasons:
    1) He is needed to mentor young players such as Jennings and Meeks
    2)The Bucks probably wont be able to get a decent return on him
    3)He will help create wins in the here and now
    4)When an NBA player progresses in age one skill ages like fine wine, SHOOTING! When he gets too old to provide those 20 ppg he has been so consistent with over the years he will come off the bench and be that aging veteran who provides floor-spacing and scoring off of the bench that the Spurs are so famous for (Finley, Kerr, Barry, Horry). This role will probably work better for him and the team especially when the rest of the team matures and gets ready for deep playoff runs.

  15. Jeremy says:

    ExMemphis – You hit three reasons right on the head, though his shooting has fallen off after a strong start to his career. He’s not terrible by any means, but on the low end of the speicalist side. I don’t see it dropping much further, so when he’s 36 he’ll still be a 35 percent three point shooter. That’s valuable off the bench for sure. I’m sure the Bucks will take all the fans they can get at this point and don’t worry about Iverson coming to Milwaukee either.

  16. ExMemphisfan16 says:

    One can only handle so many terrible decisions in such a short amount of time (letting Warrick go, drafting Thabeet, signing Iverson, trading for Randolph instead of going after David Lee) until they get tired of the entire organization who gave up Gasol for nothing a couple of years back. At least the Bucks show signs of making the playoffs in the next five years due to drafting Jennings along with having such players as Bogut and Redd on the payroll.

  17. Sam says:

    I just wanted to comment that the college 3 line is shorter than the NBA 3 line, so Meeks is probably unused to the NBA 3, which would be the reason his shot is short so often.

  18. TheLastPoet says:

    Like Rob, I’m here for one reason and one reason only: Brandon Jennings. I’ve watched his career since he made the gutsy decision to buck the plantation system of NCAA basketball, go overseas, make a little coin, and see the world while honing his craft. He was already a special player before going to Italy, but he took his lumps and learned his lessons well; and now he is likely a trendsetter, in addition to being a fantastic young point guard.

    But I digress.

    Anyway, it’s funny that ExMemphisfan16 and you, Jeremy, in your reply to him seem to be down (way way down lol) on Alley-I when most observers agree that, strangely enough (indeed it can be considered blasphemy in certain circles!), Brandon Jennings is the point guard Allen Iverson COULD HAVE BEEN if only someone had taken the time to teach him (Iverson) how to play the position! Does that make any sense? lol

    But I love Alley-I, and I hate to break it to you, but Jennings has a lot – a lot! – of AI in his game! Oh well, at the end of the day, I’m enjoying this most unexpected resurgence in Bucks basketball. Way back before internet blogging, I used to rock the Sidney Moncrief jersey back inna day, so I’m old school. Not “Lew Alcindor” old, but you get the point! It’s good to be back, and I’m sticking around as long as Jennings does!

    • Jeremy says:

      Poet – Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a fan of Bubbachuck. I’ve read book after book and absorbed all I could about him since I was little. But AI was never about raising everyone else up. AI has always gotten it done by getting the best player on the court the ball as much as possible, and he’s always worked under the assumption that he’s been the best player on the court. And for 90 percent of his career, he’s been right. But now? He’s no longer the best player. Brandon works under the assumption that he’s the best player, but he’s more interested in allowing his teammates to contribute if they are in a better position to make a play than he is.

      Iverson would take (and make) tough shots even if someone had a more open shot. Jennings will pass up the tough shot in favor of an easier one for his teammates. I don’t think any coaching could have changed AI if the legendary John Thompson couldn’t do it.

  19. ExMemphisfan16 says:

    The problem I have with AI is his toxic locker room presence and his me first mentality that is as visible in the box score as it is in film. Jennings score likes AI but his passing game is wayyyyy more developed even at this young age and he doesn’t try to force offense like AI does.

  20. RyanRandazzo21 says:

    I’ve been a bucks fan my whole life and I’ve been through the worst with them. From the Ray Allen trade for GP and Mason, and all the horrible drafting mistakes the bucks GM Larry Harris made. The Bucks could have had had Kobe but passed on him among others such as T-Mac, Monu, Boozer, and Marbary. The Dirk trade in 1998 killed me ,but I’m glad to see some buzz around the bucks finally. After I heard the Bucks were the least valued franchise worth 270 million I thought we would never be relevant again. Now with Jennings and the hard working supporting young talent we have I see a bright future with the Bucks. The main thing is we need to make sure we lock up Jennings with a max deal and another thing is the Bucks have not ever had a true PF and a back up Center for support. While Andrew is hurt we need to fill the gap with a decent FA if there’s any out there to maintain the winnings ways.

    We can’t afford to drop important games due to a lack of no center help. Dan G. is the worst piece of garbage NBA player I have ever seen. He robbed the Bucks and should donate 3/4 of his contract earnings to a local charity. It’s sad that a player with no talent is on an NBA bench. I have not missed watching a Bucks game in 5 years and know there’s struggles inside and out and its a tough inside presents. We should just bring back Tractor Trailor from the retirement center he’d add more for us than Dan G. Michael Redd should have been a 4 time all-star but he lack of wins by the team kept him off the team. Redd I believe has a few more years left in the tank for the Bucks , but if he wants to be the Milwaukee Bucks All time leading scorer he will have to reconstruct his outrageous contract to keep him here. I will be adding more as the optimistic season continues.