Bucksketball Podcast

The Best of a Bad Situation: 2. Michael Redd

| October 19, 2011

Category: 20 Bucks for 20 Years

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Michael Redd’s two arms would flick the ball from behind his head towards the hoop from behind the three-point line as only he could. Seconds later, that ball would fall through the net and the crowd would cheer on their star. Between his accuracy and the peculiarity of his stroke, Michael Redd was a very endearing scorer.

Redd would hold the ball and size up the defense from the wing. For two, three, even four second, Redd would stand. Sometimes he’d jab-step, sometimes his back would be to the hoop and sometimes he would face up and just look around. Maybe his defender felt nervous about all the ways a scorer in his prime like Redd could attack him. As losses started to pile up and Redd’s scoring remained high while his assist totals remained low, it was moments like these that became easy to criticize. Michael Redd wasn’t a very enjoyable isolation scorer.

Injuries always nagged at Redd, but they stopped nagging and started taking more action in late 2008. It started with a sprained ankle. He landed awkwardly trying to chase down a loose ball. After that, it seemed every time he jumped, something went wrong. Redd came down on a teammate in January of 2009, tearing both his ACL and MCL. He re-injured the knee on a dunk in just the second game of the next season. He tore the same ACL and MCL on what seemed to be a routine jump shot and landing almost a year to the day in January of 2010.

Michael Redd is no longer the shooter or scorer the league had come to know him as. When basketball resumes, he’ll be a free agent. He’s likely played his last game as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. He’ll find a job again. The memory of what he was and the little bit that he showed in an abbreviated 10 game 2010-11 season have earned him another job. But for now, it wil be the big contract, the ball holding, the losses and the injuries that come to the minds of Bucks fans when Redd’s name is brought up.

Give it some time. As both parties move on and a new star begins to assert his will on the Bucks, we’ll look back on a more complete picture of Michael Redd. Instead of just a contract and games missed, we’ll remember all the points he scored and the fun we had watching him. We’ll remember that big game against Utah and that stroke he made smooth despite it’s obvious flaws. We’ll remember one of the best Milwaukee Bucks players of all time. – JS

***

NBA players always get crapped on for not being in shape and not trying very hard after they sign their huge contracts. That’s not the case for Michael Redd. After he signed his $91 million contract during the 2005 offseason, rumors started to swirl that Redd was shedding his baby fat. Those rumors were confirmed when Jon McGlocklin spent the first half of the season gushing about how toned Redd was. For the 2005-06 season, Redd averaged 25.4 ppg and a 21.2 PER as he led the Bucks to the playoffs. In the next season, he averaged 26.7 ppg with a 22.3 PER before his injury (he would have been a top 5 scorer that season had he played all of it). Those seasons would be the highest marks he’d ever have in ppg and PER. They were much better than his one all-star year in 2004.

Redd’s legacy has become a story of a bad contract and a bad knee which is so unfair. It should be that he cared and busted his butt every game. He could score with the best of them and is one of the greatest shooters ever. The last thing Redd wanted was for anyone to regret his contract. Some things are just out of our control.

Even if he had never gotten injured, was he still worth the $91 million? There’s some validity to saying no, he was never a superstar. But I think he could have become one. He was getting better every season and got to play with the worlds’ best on 2008 Team USA. But it’s hard to say, I’m not good with hypotheticals. What I do know is that Bucks fans now, would shovel so much money to a guy who could average 25 a game and shoot .390 from the three. – IS

***

I’ve never met Michael Redd. I’ve never shook his hand. I’ve never asked him any questions. For someone I have had absolutely no personal contact with, I have a pretty good idea of how any interaction with him would go. Redd would give me a friendly hand shake. He would politely answer all my questions. He might even ask me about my family. Basically, by all accounts, Redd is a great guy.

Great guys don’t always make great basketball players. However, for the better part of five seasons, that is what Redd was for the Bucks. Since Ray Allen was sent to Seattle, Redd is the only Milwaukee player selected to the all-star team. He upped his scoring average in each of his first seven seasons, culminating in a 26.7 point per game average in the 2006-07 season. Redd was even a member of Team USA.

So if a player seemingly has such a great personality and so many accolades, why do I have so many negative thoughts about him? The answer is two-fold. First, Redd suffers in the “What has he done for me lately” category. After all, he has been in street clothes for most of the past three seasons. And when he did briefly play last season, he was a shadow of his former self. Two devastating injuries will do that to you.

And while Redd was recovering in Ohio or awkwardly sitting on the end of the Bucks’ bench, he was getting a fat paycheck. I shouldn’t blame Redd for these things. He didn’t force Milwaukee to give him a giant, franchise-crippling contract. He didn’t try to blow out his knee. But it still happened, and I still think about it. No matter how hard I try to remember Redd for his uncanny ability to put the ball in the hoop while shouting “Oh, and-one,”  I can’t help but picture him doing it with dollar signs circling his head. – JH

Jeremy SchmidtJosh Hilgendorf and Ian Segovia write the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Click their names to follow them on Twitter.

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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 (7)

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  1. Matt says:

    “No matter how hard I try to remember Redd for his uncanny ability to put the ball in the hoop while shouting “Oh, and-one,” I can’t help but picture him doing it with dollar signs circling his head.”

    I think that’s kind of unfair. The Bucks offered him tens of millions more than anyone else could. He’d have been a fool to turn down that money. As stated, his numbers got BETTER after he signed his fat contract. Name me another star that did that. You won’t come up with many names at all. If the Bucks hadn’t offered him the money, he’d have been gone. He would have gone to a better squad and he’d have been hated on for that. He couldn’t win.

    How many more points could he have dumped in had his knees not betrayed him?

    But for a second round pick, someone who had notshot, to latch on to the team that drafted him (remember, Dallas wanted him badly at one point) and become an All Star and bust his @$$ every single game…well, it’s a rarity.

  2. Jeremy Schmidt says:

    @Matt
    I think it’s less of a criticism of him and more of a criticism of what the franchise was valuing at the time. They decided it was more important to keep Redd, for whatever reason, than be fiscally smart. Everyone appreciates what Redd did, but even at the high level he was producing at and as well as he represented the organization, costs have to be considered. Considering how the team fared during the tenure of his contract, it’s easy to look back and wonder if that money could have been more wisely spent on a number of players.

    But no one in the world would have passed up the contract he was offered.

  3. Josh Hilgendorf says:

    @Matt

    As Jeremy alluded to, I certainly do not blame Redd for signing that contract. He would have been a complete idiot to turn it down.

    Still, the contract and Redd are linked. When I think of Redd, I think of the contract. I know Redd was a great player in Milwaukee and I loved watching him for the majority of his career.

    When I read it again, I suppose the “dollar signs circling his head” line is a little misleading. I didn’t intend for it to mean Redd himself had money on his mind the entire time he was with the Bucks. I meant it to illustrate how I can’t think of Redd without thinking of the contract.

  4. Bizzucks says:

    I remember being torn as well about that contract. He would have been gone, no question about it, and then we would be out a scorer. Or we could pay too much for him, that’s the way of the NBA though. A lot of players have bad contracts, a lot more than are undervalued that’s for sure. The team did what probably had to be done, it would have been a lot easier to stomach in a larger market venue though, NY or LA would have no problem giving their guy that kind of cash.

  5. Ted says:

    I was a little surprised to see Redd this high I thought maybe a different member of the big 3 would be #2 but i have no problem with him being this high. I would also just like to say b4 Mr. Shuttlesworth is crowned the top Buck of the last 20 years that it’s been alot of fun reading these and wanted to say nice job guys. It’s refreshing to read about basketball and not have it be about the lockout and who pointed their finger and gave dirty looks to David Stern this week and how long the meetings were and how nice Derek Fisher’s suits are. I hope to see the Bucks back on the hardwood soon, but until then keep up the good work guys.

  6. Bizzucks says:

    @Ted

    Good call Ted. Couldn’t agree more.

  7. Jeremy says:

    @Ted
    It’s hard to believe how good Redd was, but he really was amazing. Swap him and Robinson at their peaks in 2001 and I think the Bucks win a title.

    It’s been fun writing these too. It’s depressing to constantly read business jargon and lockout related articles all day when all you’re looking to do is read about basketball. I was hoping we’d wrap this up and the league would be getting back, but it looks like that was wishful thinking.