These might be the consumate clips that define both Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick defensively. Both have their flaws, but their flaws are very different. Ultimately, regardless of difference, they were both exposed on a number of occasions in Milwaukee’s 103-102 loss Saturday night to the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks finished the game 14-of-28 from 3-point range.
Here’s a little bit of why.
We’ll start with Ellis:
Video via: @jacob_frankel
You’ll never hear someone say that Ellis isn’t physically capable of playing defense. And this play has little to do with Ellis physically, but rather it’s a terrific illustration of the mistakes we often see Ellis make on the defensive end.
It’s one play, but it’s not unlike Ellis to wander away from his man, even when there is little reason to do so. Ellis quickly forgets about Devin Harris after a pass inside to a double-teamed Josh Smith. Yes, Coach Jim Boylan wants his entire team to make an effort on the defensive glass, as that’s been a glaring issue over the past couple of moths, but Monta has hardly made himself into more of a rebounder on this play by lightly helping on a double-teamed Smith.
Three Bucks are circling the paint and not a single Hawk outside of Smith is inside the arc. Ellis is far enough off Harris that he can’t even challenge his three, but far enough from Smith that he makes no difference on the pass being made. He’s in no mans land and Harris drills one of his four 3-pointers.
Video via: @jacob_frankel
Twice we see Redick help off of Jeff Teague to provide assistance in the post. The first occasion comes on a Smith post-up of John Henson. Redick makes an impact with his double, sealing off any path Smith may have had to the middle with his left hand. That’s effective. The problem comes when Smith kicks it out to Teague.
Redick is simply not quick enough to provide much of a challenge on Teague. When the ball is released, there’s a good two feet of separation between Redick and the shooter. He makes the effort, but his limitations are clear on the first attempt.
On the second attempt, after Redick again doubles the post, this time Al Horford. He cuts him off effectively and Horford’s forced to pass it out to Teague as Smith was before. But Redick is too slow to get out once again, this time putting even less of a challenge into it, and Teague connects on the open look.
Redick’s problems are not necessarily ones of poor recognition or effort, but more physically based out of his relative lack of quickness. It’s simply difficult for him to double and then get out and effectively bother a shooter thanks to his foot speed and size limitations. Monta? Sometimes he wanders, and it often seems like it’s the case when he’s guarding a player that isn’t quite as sharp of a shooter.
But Harris and pretty much every other guard in the NBA can make threes when they are left open and unchallenged. The Hawks showed the Bucks that over and over Saturday night.