Suns News

New Suns Guard Redd-y to Go

Redd averaged more than 20 points a game for six-straight seasons.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)
By Stefan Swiat, Suns.com
Posted: Jan. 6, 2012

Steve Nash, Grant Hill and Shaquille O’Neal were all players that critics believed were past their primes when they arrived in Phoenix. Since that time, all have experienced a renaissance in their careers.

Soon we’ll see if newly-acquired shooting guard Michael Redd will be the latest in the line of former stars that have rejuvenated their games in the Valley of the Sun.

The 6-6 lefty sharpshooter scrimmaged for the first time as a member of the Suns on Thursday, after partaking in drills and exercises with the team on Tuesday. Although he only participated in one practice, if it was up to Redd, he’d be debuting in Phoenix on Friday against the Blazers.

“I’m ready to go,” the Suns’ new sharpshooter said. “Coaches know best and trainers know best and they’ve been pulling my shirt and saying, ‘You don’t want to go all-out just yet.’ So they’ve been patient with me and holding me back a little bit.”

Since signing last week, Redd has worked with Phoenix’s renowned training staff in an attempt to get him in game-shape.

“(The trainers) have been hammering me,” he said. “So along with the basketball stuff on the court, there has been a lot of training in the training room. It’s been relentless work on my legs.”

When Redd spoke to the media after practice Thursday, he tried to impress upon the reporters present that the conditioning work he’s doing now is not rehab on his knees. The days of rehab were behind him when he broke back into the Bucks' rotation at the end of last season.

The training he’s doing now is all basketball-related and being done with the idea of getting him on the court as safely as possible, especially since he's had no training camp or preseason to help him in that regard. It was also encouraging to see Redd playing without a brace on a left knee that has been surgically repaired on two separate occasions.

Before tearing both his ACL and MCL during the 2008-09 and the 2009-10 seasons, Redd was one of the most prolific scorers in the game. For six consecutive seasons, he averaged more than 20 points a game.

With that knowledge in hand, Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry has been cautiously optimistic. He says that Redd is about a “week away” from seeing actual game time.

“A lot of my teammates have said, ‘You look like you’re ready to play,'” Redd stated.

The former two-time MVP was one of them, but wanted to downplay expectations.

“He looks pretty good,” Nash said. “But I think he’s still going to need some time to get comfortable with our offense and defense and get himself in a position where he’s ready to play.”

After a stellar 11-year career that saw him make an All-Star Team, earn All-NBA honors and win a spot on the “Redeem Team,” one can begin to wonder why he desperately desires to return to his previous form. Why not just pack it up and enjoy life after basketball?

Redd claimed that he’s not wired like most people.

“I want to be the best,” he said. “I want to be back where I was when I was one of the top 2-guards in the league.”

With his intense drive and the training staff’s able touch, perhaps the Phoenix faithful will bear witness to yet another basketball renaissance this season.

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