Myths and Truths around J.J. Redick to the Bucks

(AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.)

Typically I don’t love to give grades to moves that just happend. So I’m not in love with the idea of giving a grade to Milwaukee’s trade for J.J. Redick. But I did anyway on ESPN for a 5-on-5 that’s going to drop later today.

Ultimately, the move will be judged as either a success or failure based on whether or not the Bucks are able to make the playoffs and win a game or two. This wasn’t a move made to make the Bucks a serious threat to win a series in the playoffs, but a move to make sure a team that’s going through some struggles right now got there.

And there’s the added benefit that Redick may be able to be kept if Monta Ellis decides to opt out this summer. But we won’t know if the Bucks are going to make the playoffs for a few months and we won’t know if Ellis opts out until the season ends.

In the mean time, let’s take a look at some things people are saying and thinking about the Bucks in relation to this deal. Truths and myths, if you will.

Myth: J.J. Redick solves the problems that have caused Milwaukee to lose eight of 10

Milwaukee’s offense has certainly struggled at times over the past 10 games and Redick should be able to help considerably on that end. But there’s one thing Redick can’t do that Milwaukee needs more than anything else. He can’t make Ellis disappear. Unless Jim Boylan is prepared to make an unprecedented move and cut Ellis’ minutes considerably, Milwaukee’s offense isn’t going to make many drastic improvements.

The perception of Ellis is that he’s an effective offensive player, crucial to the Bucks. The reality is that the Bucks are a below average offensive team when Ellis is on the court. But he scores nearly 20 points per game and ultimately, perception is reality in the minds of those that make decisions. It seems unlikely that Ellis’ minutes will drop below 35 per game. If, by some miracle, that happens, and Redick is able to get considerably more minutes than Beno Udrih without syphoning them from Mike Dunleavy, the Bucks could make some significant improvements. But I struggle to see that happening.

Truth: The Bucks are better today than they were yesterday

No question. Milwaukee traded three guys that weren’t in their rotation for one guy who has the potential to make a big difference in a positive way and two guys who can sit on the bench with the same effectiveness of Doron Lamb and Tobias Harris.

I think people are sleeping on Redick a little bit. He is everything you like about Dunleavy, but a little shorter and more capable a ball-handler, which makes him a more effective backup guard option than Beno Udrih. Udrih had a very nice mid-range game and did a great job conducting the offense when he was on the court, but his limitations as a 3-point shooter certainly made him a less than ideal backup point guard.

Redick isn’t naturally a point guard, but given the minutes that Brandon Jennings and Ellis have played recently, he’ll merely need to slide in next to one of them handling those duties a majority of the time.

Myth: Redick and Dunleavy are redundant and unnecessary

It’s literally impossible to have enough guards and forwards like Redick and Dunleavy so long as you have at least one that is unlike them.

Obviously teams need guys that can create offense for everyone else and that might not be a strength of either Redick or Dunleavy, but they can do it to some degree and in every other way on offense they are exactly what teams need.

When the Bucks acquired Ellis, there were tons and still are tons of questions about whether or not he and Jennings could work together in the back court. They’re both high volume, low percentage shooters. And we’ve seen over the course of this season the limitations that a pairing like that has. Regardless of how many times people want to use the word dynamic to describe them, they still don’t make many shots. But Redick and Dunleavy, while not “dynamic”, both work off the ball incredibly well and make a ton of shots.

They can play together and thrive together so long as whoever shares the court with them, whether it’s Jennings or Ellis, can keep the ball moving from side to side.

Truth: Losing Tobias Harris is a bummer

Harris has nice potential. He’s worked himself into being such a natural offensive player. Despite an apparent lack of 3-point range, though he has done better there this season than last, Harris is a very above average offensive player for a 20-year-old with his athleticism. But he has some limitations that he’ll have to overcome. And he’ll get more of a chance to overcome those in Orlando.

He’s kind of without a position right now. It’s hard to envision him sticking with small forwards on a regular basis or rebounding and defending well enough to hang with power forwards. Eventually, he and the Magic will have to make a commitment to one of those spots and getting him physically right to be either a three or a four. And if he is a three, he’ll have to develop that 3-point shot to make up for a lack of upper echelon quickness to go with his size and strength.

But Harris wasn’t getting a shot with the Bucks and to get a talented player, an asset has to be given up.

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball. He founded it in…

18 Comments

  1. all i got from this article is that you think a role playing SHOOTER is better than the all around player that ellis is, yea he struggling this year but the guys is still a scorer and he is showing everyone how amazing of a passer he is. also redick and dunleavy both off ball run around screen players coming off the bench, you cannot possibly run screens through 2 people it doesnt work that way in the nba.

    cant wait for redick to disappoint everyone

  2. I disagree that the offense can be improved here only by drastically cutting Ellis’ minutes. First of all, his numbers are not THAT much worse than Jennings, so to scapegoat him and him alone seems odd. But more to the point, how about you cut everybody’s minutes slightly and work out the rotation so that you pair the newly acquired sharpshooter with one of the dynamic point guards as much as possible?

    There are 96 minutes available at PG and SG during a game. Right now Jennings and Ellis average 37 each and Redick comes in averaging 31 mpg. Give Jennings and Ellis roughly 33-35 mpg each and Redick 26-30. Start with Ellis on the bench. Convince him its not a demotion, its so that the team can maximize the skill-sets of its three guards and that he’ll be just as involved and important as he was before. Then run as much as possible with either of Jennings/Ellis at point with Redick at SG. When Redick sits out, its back to Jennings and Ellis playing together.

    The main thrust of this is that Ellis (and Jennings) should benefit from having a deadly spot-up shooter playing alongside them, and thus the team will benefit without having to simply drastically cut Ellis’ minutes.

    • terrific points.. the key is balance, but that hasn’t really been Boylan’s strong suit so far.. and who’s in for the last possession of a close game?

    • @Andyroo
      good points but the one thing you aren’t considering when comparing Ellis and Jennings numbers is 3point shooting. This is a huge factor in both the shooting efficiencies of these two players, and in spreading the floor to better facilitate offensive execution all around.

      The fact that Brandon is much better at three point shooting sets him apart from Ellis, along with the fact that he is in this teams future and Ellis is likely not.

  3. Have to respectfully disagree with you “sp”-although I will admit that im a hopeless optimist when it comes to Bucks.

    There was a reason Golden State traded Ellis for a injury plagued Bogut… they knew Ellis shortcomings. We have witnessed his ups n downs for a year now. He is a good player yes, a game changer NO.

    Poo pooing on Redick and Dunleavy wont change the TRUTH of Ellis #s.

    Lets all think positive for once… Bucks DID improve with this trade

  4. I agree with Most of what Jeremy says. The Bucks should have gotten rid of Ellis. Ellis and Jennings together much of the game, especially at the end too often leads to disaster. The NBA should be a team game to win not an AAU tournament. Elis is a great slasher, but not a good outside shooter. Moreover he is selfish with not gettig the ball to open players on the perimiter. He has the body talent but lacks the proffesional maturity of a professional NBA player. Jennings is an enigma, sometimes he is sensatioal (more as one on one player) Other times he is juevinle in key moments in turning the ball over.
    Both are talented reaction players, but together on an NBA time they invite disaster. Also their defense especially againtst bigger stronger gurards is hurting. Sometimes they disappear when a good outside shooter is wide open. They create fan exciement, but is the goal of the team to win or create entertainment. Ideally both, But no one wants to lose escpecially the close ones. Neither is true point guard, Jennings is better. I would move Ellis, and start Jenings and Redick in the back court.

    • Right now, we need the contribution of all three guards. Heck, it would be nice if Ish could kick in a couple minutes. We are talking TWO guard positions and three players.

      We need everyone to play nice and it will benefit everyone.

  5. I like the Redick trade it makes way more sense than gettin a player that has stated he doesn’t want to play for the bucks. I’m glad GM hammonds didn’t listen to the media & fans like the bucks did back in whatever year getting Gary Payton for 30 games then he walked to LA. It’s a smart business move. I can’t wait for the bucks to grap that #5 or #4 seed.

    GO BUCKS!!!

  6. We didn’t aquire Redick with the vision of him replacing Ellis, although that’s what will likely happen if Ellis opts out of his contract next season. At least now we have a backup plan.

    I just don’t see Ellis being the 6th man, it will be JJ coming off the bench for scoring as the 6th man. He didn’t start on a very poor Orlando team either, but lead them in scoring, so that should be an indication of where he fits in with the Bucks.

    Realistically, he wasn’t acquired to replace Jennings or Ellis, but to compliment them better than Beno could. JJ will play many more minutes than Beno did and it will likely be with Ellis or Jennings being the PG, with the other resting.

    Also, just becasue I don’t see JJ starting, it doesn’t mean I don’t see him playing meaningful minutes or closing games out for the Bucks. I much rather have had the option of JJ puttting up that last 3-point shot against the Nets and/or attempting those 3 FTs.

    Ellis is just not a good 3-point shot, that’s why he was the one open and not Jennings, Ersan or MD. Now we have that 3rd option in those instances. I’d say 4th but the Bucks had MD throwing in the ball, so his only opportunity would be with enough time on a pass back situation.

    • Redick may not start but I agree that he should definitely be playing over Ellis at the close of games.

    • Once they start playing together…and with the rest of the team…the cream is going to rise to the top.

      Don’t get too excited for a BIG change if they are able to play on Saturday night, but the best rotations and combinations will surface, depending on who they are playing against.

  7. One can love the Bucks but be disappointed
    with their players and management. I say this
    as a huge fan of more than forty years, though
    it’s hard to get excited about this team.

    Something seems wrong with the current Bucks. The
    individuals are good but the mix is bad.
    Plus, how many of these guys want to be here
    after this season — unless they get contracts
    that far exceed their performances?

    There doesn’t seem to be much imagination
    from the GM or the coach. So the Bucks bumble
    along, hit-and-miss, and now there’s one more
    miss than hit. It’s all so uninspiring and
    exasperating.

    I really wish the Bucks would get a real point
    guard who can take charge of the team!!! Jennings,
    or even Ellis, might be able to grow into this role,
    but don’t seem to want to even try.

    I think it is a huge mistake to let go of Tobias,
    especially considering how long it has taken Redick
    to develop in this league. Tobias never got half
    the chance of Luc, who continues to sputter with anemic
    offense all these years later. Also, Ellis and Jennings
    play unlimited minutes with unlimited shots and unlimited
    mistakes — and the Bucks couldn’t give Tobias a fraction
    of their opportunity.

    All I wanted for Tobias was at least 15 minutes per game,
    on a team that is so mediocre and could have used an infusion of offensive talent in the frontcourt. At the very least, the Bucks
    might be implicitly admitting that they wasted a first-round pick
    to get a sixth-man who might leave the team after less than two
    months!

    All this for a sub-500 team that doesn’t even deserve
    to be in the playoffs. Sad!!!!!