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.