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Indiana Pacers in Contact with Michael Redd—Does He Have Anything Left?
Frequently, I look at a player and see their age, and wonder "How the heck was it ten years since their rookie season? Where did that time go?"
Michael Redd is such a player. It seems like only a few years ago that he came into the league as an unheralded rookie out of Ohio State, drafted in the second round, unlikely to make a roster.
By his second season, which was actually his first full season since he played only six games in his rookie year, he was averaging 11.2 points per game off of the Bucks' bench, and until now he has spent his entire career in a Milwaukee uniform.
At one point, Redd was one of the most deadly shooters in the league, with a quick left handed release that was as pretty as it was hard to block. He got a lot of shots off, too. He has five seasons in which he attempted at least 300 three point shots, and he hit a career percentage of 38.4 from behind the arc.
In his third NBA season, he played all 82 games and shot an astounding 43.8% from three. His shot is as sweet as Ray Allen's; it's just due to injury that his career hasn't been as glorious as Jesus Shuttlesworth.
But like Allen, Redd is hoping to have success past age 30. Having the last few seasons off due to injury can be looked at one of two ways: either a player's career is over; or, the added rest will prolong their career and allow them to play deep into their 30s (see: Grant Hill).
While it is more likely the former, Redd is worth a look for teams like the Indiana Pacers, who are set to start a second year defensive stopper at shooting guard. Adding Redd would give them some offense off the bench and strengthen the outside shooting of the second unit, and at this point in Redd's career, that may be enough for both he and the Pacers (or any other suitor) to be happy.
I don't see Redd's return to being a starter as likely, but I am not counting the possibility out, either. He still has a very pure shot and at one point played decent defense, too. But that pure shot may not be enough to offset the knee injuries that have kept Redd off the court. Surely, his mobility will be lessened by the lack of practice, and it will take time for Redd to rediscover his timing, to be sure.
But basketball never leaves a good player. I barely play at all anymore, but because I have played my entire life, the rust is quickly shaken off and within an hour I am hitting all net. While my bragging may or may not be relevant to the career of Michael Redd, my point is that Redd's jumper is unlikely to have completely left him. The elevation may be gone (like Gilbert Arenas' gimpy jumper), but the form is still there, and you don't need to jump two feet off the court on your release to be an effective spot up shooter. Some guys barely jump on their "jumper" at all, anyway (see: Sam Perkins, Zach Randolph, et al.).
There may be just enough left in Redd's tank to put in two more solid seasons, and since no one will be risking anything more than a vet's min contract on the aged star, that may be enough. At this point, Redd would probably take one more productive season or two, and hang it up and call it quits.
Redd made an Olympic team, several All-Star teams, and at least in videos will always demonstrate a textbook form jumpshot. And while that peak may have been short lived due to injury, for Redd's sake I hope when we look back at his career that we think of the flick of his wrist, and not the bend of his knees.
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