If it wasn’t for bad luck, he wouldn’t have no luck at all.
That’s how it’s seemed for Michael Redd these last couple years. When he wasn’t tearing his ACL, he was spraining a knee doing something as simply as landing after a dunk.
Things work themselves out in a funny way though. Redd’s bad luck has been the best kind of luck for the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s Michael Redd’s bad luck that has the Milwaukee Bucks where they are at right now and it’s Michael Redd’s bad luck that’s prevented the Milwaukee Bucks from some type of ugly Tracy McGrady, Stephon Marbury or Eddy Curry style standoff from engulfing their organization.
I don’t want to be misinterpreted though, so I’ll make this clear right away: I’m not happy that Redd blew out his ACL twice in a year. I never wanted to see him get injured. I’m not saying I hate Michael Redd and I really, really hope he can return to the court and be a productive player again some day. I’m just trying to paint a picture of how Redd’s final years in Milwaukee have developed for both sides.
Does anyone think for a second thing would be such a love fest between Redd and the Bucks had he not re-injured himself? Redd was struggling mightily when he was befallen again last January. It’s impossible to project what would have happened, but we have little evidence that things were going to get a whole lot better for Redd as the months moved forward. Had Redd continued to be a featured option on the team, Milwaukee would have likely continued to flounder as they had the year before and the year before and so on.
Of course, Redd could have been traded or perhaps the Bucks could have still targeted John Salmons with Redd struggling so much, but that’s all speculation. What’s fact is that Redd would be heading into this season with a cloud of uncertainty following him around. Everyone would be wondering daily if there were any new offers on the table for Redd if he weren’t dealt in the off-season. If he made it to the start of this season, it’s possible he’d have to accept a role more befitting his skills.
That’s usually where things start to get ugly.
McGrady is often the first name that comes up when people describe the current state of affairs between the Bucks and Redd. It’s just the easy way to explain a former star that’s more or less been exiled by an organization. There is none of the ill will that existed between a healthy McGrady and the Rockets though in the Bucks and Redd situation.
The former Houston star constantly alternated between injured and healthy, wearing on everyone from fans to the organization. As frustrating as that was, the final straw came when McGrady began to gripe about playing time on one of the rare occasions in which he deemed himself fit to play last season. The team had philosophically moved on from him and saw him as a role player in their system thanks to his diminishing talents and constant risk of further injury. McGrady was thinking that starters minutes seemed more appropriate though and ugliness began. McGrady only played six games for Houston last season before a February trade landed him in New York for his final 24.
Imagine if McGrady wouldn’t have been healthy enough to play last season at all though. If T-Mac wasn’t healthy, he couldn’t have griped about minutes. Everyone else couldn’t have seen how ineffective he was when he was on the court. There would be no separation of the reality of his situation and the fantasy in his mind of how things should be. And everyone could have co-existed peacefully.
That’s why the peace has remained in Milwaukee and that’s why optimism reigns when talk of Redd’s return surfaces.
Milwaukee has never had to ask Redd to take a step back. His second injury will leave him on the shelf until February and if, and this still seems unlikely, he returns to Milwaukee it’ll be with the understanding that it’s his job to fit in. The two injuries give everyone a convenient excuse to ask Redd to accept a lesser role. Because of the injuries, everyone can say that those are the reason he’s having to take a smaller role, not because he wasn’t a good fit with the Bucks of last season or won’t be a good fit with the ones of this season. Redd even said something along those lines last January.
“I do feel like I have to figure out where I fit with this team now,” Redd told HoopsWorld last January. “We need Andrew to contribute, we need Brandon to keep playing well, but I have to play better for us to win.”
He was right, Milwaukee needed a significant boost from Redd to start winning. A boost he may not have been able to provide.
The injuries prevented the ugliness that usually accompanies these breakups. Milwaukee never had to ask Redd to stay away, because he was able to occupy himself rehabbing his injury. The organization gets to stand by a player who’s dealing with a career threatening issue and Redd gets to thank them for doing so. Things have gone so swimmingly, that I wouldn’t be surprised to see his number up in the Bradley Center (or wherever the Bucks are playing in 10 years) rafters one day and Redd getting some kind of role with the organization. Redd has always been a favorite of owner Herb Kohl and that hasn’t changed these last two years.
It very easily could have though had Redd never suffered his second injury. Luck is a funny thing.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter. Then follow Bucksketball on Facebook (become a fan in the sidebar).