Jake's Take: What Can Redd Do for Milwaukee? - 03/26/11
Jake LeRoy [@JakesTake34]
Bucks vs Bulls
What Can Redd Do for Milwaukee?
UPS and its artistically-inclined spokesperson haircut asks its customers, "What can brown do for you?"
The answer is relatively simple. It offers timely delivery of desirable goods. The anticipated return of long-hobbled shooting guard Michael Redd has many Milwaukeeans asking, "What can Redd do for Milwaukee?" The answer is similar to UPS's. He offers a desirable skill set arriving just in time for late-season playoff push.
At this point, it's impossible to determine how much playing time and production Redd is going to be able to offers over the regular season's final three weeks. Word is his conditioning is as good as anyone else on the team, but will his trademark slingshot jumper catch up to his stamina? That remains to be seen. If his shot is even close to where it once was, Redd instantly becomes a valuable asset for the Bucks.
It's no secret that offense has been the bane around the team's collective neck this season. A team that relies on perimeter success as much as the Bucks do needs a bevy of dead-eye shooters to consistently post victories. Milwaukee's 42.7 percent and 34.3 percent accuracy from the field and from behind the arc, respectively, indicates the Bucks are lacking in that department.
The duo of Carlos Delfino and John Salmons has recently found its rhythm at the most opportune time. Delfino is in the midst of the greatest four-game compilation of his career, averaging 23.5 points and 5.3 three-pointers per game while hitting better than 58 percent of his shots. Salmons has returned to his form of a year ago, averaging 17.6 points on 47.4 percent shooting over his last five.
A heavy workload is bound to catch up eventually, though. Delfino is playing 43 minutes a game over his crazy four-game stretch while Salmons has averaged 39.6 minutes a contest over his last five outings. I can't imagine Delfino and Salmons continuing their current respective tears if they're forced to play 40 minutes a night. Enter Redd.
Like I said earlier, there's no way of telling how much Redd will be able to contribute upon his return. I think in an ideal and realistic situation, Redd will take on a role similar to the one he played on the 2008 USA Olympic Basketball team. Redd was included on that roster solely for his ability to stretch a defense with his outside shot. While he may have struggled in that role during the Olympics, I don't doubt he could be effective in that position with the Bucks.
Redd's three-point percentage fell early in his career when he was asked to take on greater responsibility following the departures of Ray Allen, Glenn Robinson and Sam Cassell. He was about as good as they become when he was in secondary role, though. Redd came off the pine during his second and third years in the league and was one of the league's best at doing so. From 2001 to 2003, Redd averaged 13.5 points per game while shooting better than 43 percent from long range.
If Redd can remain healthy, and I realize that's a big "if," I don't think it's a completely outlandish notion for Redd to return to those levels. If he can give the Bucks 12 to 15 minutes a night and score eight to 10 points in those minutes while connecting at an efficient rate, he'll be a valuable addition to the roster. Redd may not be that great with a Sharpie, but it wasn't too long ago that he was pretty great with a basketball.
- I'm hoping Bulls fans will be judicious with your MVP chants. I'm not saying Derrick Rose isn't deserving of the chant. He is. But choose your timing wisely. The last time Chicago was in town, Bulls fans were busting out the chant in a game in which Rose finished with 17 points on 7-of-19 shooting and just four assists. It was a very un-MVP-like performance.
If it's late in the game and Rose is putting the capper on a 30-point, 10-assist showing, that's appropriate timing for a MVP chant. He will have earned it at that point. But please, use your better judgment when invoking a chant that should be reserved for only the most worthy of performances. Chanting MVP when Rose is at the line early in the second quarter is the equivalent of Cubs fans requesting a curtain call after a third-inning single from Kosuke Fukodome. It just doesn't make any sense, and it's only hurting the overall impact of the once-hallowed chant.
- Brandon Jennings seemingly becomes an improved shot blocker every time he faces off against Rose. He averaged one block per game over four contests against Chicago last year and has averaged 0.8 per game over five career outings against the Bulls. For a 6-foot-1 guard that averages just 0.3 blocks for his career, that's a relatively substantial difference. Jennings is already at it again tonight, getting a piece of a Rose jumper midway through the first quarter.
- Watching Chicago's Omer Asik makes me miss Ersan Ilyasova's presence on the floor even more. It's not fair that the Bulls get to play their Turk while Milwaukee's Turk is stuck riding a stationary bike. Obviously all precautions should be taken when dealing with a concussion, but I'm hoping Turkish Thunder can return to the court quickly. He's got an unofficial league record within reach, but he'll need a few more opportunities to get there.
- I'm really hoping that Larry Sanders' post-basket finger wave eventually rivals Dikembe Mutombo's post-block finger wag as the best finger-centric celebration in basketball. Sanders doesn't bust his out as often as Mutombo once did, but he's not afraid to unleash it if he's pleased with himself. His finger wave has a ways to go to catch Mutombo's finger wag, but a guy can always hope.
Closing It Out
Now that was a performance worthy of a MVP chant. Rose earned the in-unison praise of the Chicago fans tonight with a great clutch performance the Bucks were not able to overcome. The third-year point guard finished with 30 points and 17 assists and was at his best down the stretch. Rose scored 10 points and dished out four assists in the fourth quarter, and either scored or assisted on each of Chicago's final 16 points. The Bucks played an excellent team game for the game's first 45 minutes, but the singular greatness of Rose was too much.
A Delfino three-pointer and Bogut dunk on consecutive possessions put the Bucks in the driver's seat with an 83-79 lead with five minutes remaining. The Milwaukee offense went into a funk for the rest of the game, though, scoring just four points the rest of the way and zero over the game's final two minutes and 55 seconds. The Bucks offense was solid through three quarters with 74 points against a stout Chicago defense. An inability to get a good shot and make one when available doomed Milwaukee in the fourth quarter. Five missed shots and two turnovers in its final five possessions gave the Bulls the opening they needed.
Milwaukee received good outings from Salmons and Delfino, who combined for 48 points on 16-of-32 from the floor. They didn't receive much help from their teammates, though, as the other six players who logged minutes scored just 39 points on 15-of-46 shooting. The Bucks also struggled in close, losing the rebounding battle 47-37 and being outscored 52-30 in the paint.This upcoming week will likely be the biggest of the season for the Bucks. Three road contests against teams with losing records, including fellow playoff contenders Indiana and Charlotte, could be the defining games of this season. Milwaukee hasn't spent a lot of time away from home recently, but hopefully it'll be able to maintain the momentum gained from the impressive road win over New York on Friday.
Note: These are the views of the 6th Fan Blogger. Thoughts and opinions expressed in this articles are not necessarily the views of the Milwaukee Bucks.