It’s hard to even be concerned about a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on the road. That talent disparity is too great and the road troubles too significant for the current version of the Milwaukee Bucks.
But it isn’t hard to be concerned about another knee injury to Michael Redd.
Either on his jump or on his landing on what looked to be a shot attempted but ended up as a pass in the second quarter, Redd went down and didn’t come back up. The left knee is the same knee he tore his ACL and MCL in last January and gave him soreness earlier this year that required some time off. Whether this is as serious as the latter or another patella strain remains to be seen, but it’s generally not a good sign when a player needs to be helped back to the locker room as Redd did.
So, What Does This Mean?
A few things. For starters, I’d expect to see Charlie Bell back in the starting line-up Monday night against Phoenix. Bell’s minutes have been on a roller coaster ride since Redd returned, some DNP-CD’s, a few single digit minute games and then games in which he’s play nearly the entire second half after not playing in the first. Fortunately, Bell is the type of player to always keep himself ready, so he’s handled the rocky minutes fairly well.
Whether he can be a reliable starting shooting guard is another story. While Bell does excel at catch and shoot three’s, he generally does everything else poorly on offense. He cannot attack with success, he often gets caught up in pump fakes that do not open up space for him and if he puts the ball on the ground at all before shooting it’s safe to assume it won’t be going in. His defense is largely what has got him in games before, but it’s difficult for him to make a major impact guarding player three and four inches taller and 20 pounds heavier. In short, he’s not an ideal starting shooting guard.
What About Jodie Meeks?
Jodie Meeks is getting more lives than a cat this season. Meeks has shown quick flashes of shooting touch and athleticism in a few games, but then typically responded with three or four bad games in a row if he was given any real opportunity with regard to minutes. Even worse, his better games have all come in blowouts, rendering them nearly meaningless. If Redd didn’t go down, it’s hard to envision a situation where Meeks would ever get serious minutes again this year.
Alas, Redd’s down and Meeks performed well in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Lakers. The one thing that Meeks has struggled with more than anything else has been his three-point shooting. As Frank from BrewHoop pointed out in his recap of the Laker game, Meeks is 2-23 on the road from behind the arc. His athleticism and defense have looked to be on an NBA level, something that cannot be said about all Bucks players, but a team like Milwaukee simply cannot give large helpings of minutes to a shooting guard that can’t hit a three-point shot, especially next to someone like Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. If Meeks wants to take advantage of this opportunity he’ll likely be given, the three’s must start falling.
Will This Mean More Delfino?
Well, I sure hope not. I don’t even understand what’s going on with Carlos Delfino on the court at this point. He’s just not very good at much. Delfino seems to have the idea that he can create and can play point guard for stretches, but he can’t. When he takes the rebound and decides to bring it up himself rather than just hand it off to whichever point guard is on the court, I want to stop watching basketball. He’s that guy on your team who’s obsessed with bringing the ball up the court and seeing whether or not he likes anything HE sees before he gives it up like he’s supposed to. I’ve always hated playing with guys like that and I’m not even good at basketball. I can only imagine how frustrating it is for Bucks guards to play with this guy.
Ideally Delfino would just sprint down the court and stand in the corner waiting for a kickout to shoot a three. You know, because he’s a shooter. What’s that you say? He’s shooting less than 32 percent on three’s? Who ever could have seen this coming? What’s that? Everyone?
Oh yeah, that’s right.
In short, let’s just hope this whole thing doesn’t result in a whole lot more Delfino.
Who Could Get Minutes If Not Delfino?
I don’t even remember what music played when Joe Alexander scored at the BC last year, but whatever it was, cue it up. This could be just the opportunity Alexander needed to jump-start his career. I hesitate to write this because I know there were opportunities available for Joe last year and either he still wasn’t given chances or he just didn’t make the most of them. With another year of maturation, it’s possible he’s more ready to take advantage of this opportunity, but who really knows. It’s a positive sign that Alexander traveled out West with the team, so he could be ready to go any time this week for all we know and this could spur his return. After all, he can attack the rim and get to the free throw line and does posses athleticism that seems to make him a logical on-court partner for Brandon Jennings.
Whether or not the Bucks really want to “See Joe Dunk” is another story. He doesn’t have a contract for next year, there have been trade talks since virtually last January about him and there have been so many rumblings about why he hasn’t gotten a shot a minor earthquake could be recorded. It probably would benefit Milwaukee to let Alexander get some run and see if he can at least be tagged a semi-attractive prospect for trade talks the rest of the way though. They’d be well served to get something, something maybe meaning the opportunity to dump Dan Gadzuric’s contract, rather than nothing for Alexander if he proves capable.