Thursday’s trade deadline came and went without much of a fuss, as all the major NBA stars stayed with their current teams. The one move that did get some hype, however, was the Milwaukee Bucks receiving J.J. Redick from the Orlando Magic.
Redick has been having the best season of his career and his name had been part of trade rumors for months. By joining the Bucks, Redick gets to go from one of the worst teams in the NBA to a likely playoff team. And when the postseason beings, he just might get to do some serious damage.
Redick had been one of the best sixth men in the year this season, only you probably didn’t hear about it because he was stuck putting in work on the lowly Magic. Still, he was averaging 15.1 points and 4.4 assists per game. The passing was an especially nice improvement to his game, since before this season, he never averaged more than 2.5 assists. This season, Redick has proven that he is more than just a gunner off the bench and that he can be a multi-dimensional offensive threat, both draining 3s, and distributing the ball. The Bucks thoroughly upgraded their offense by acquiring him.
When Redick begins his time in Milwaukee, it is likely that he will largely continue doing what he did with Orlando; occupy a sixth-man role, as the guy who provides instant offense off the bench. It’s worth noting, however, that the Bucks might be better off inserting Redick into the starting lineup and having current starting 2-guard Monta Ellis take on the sixth-man spot.
Redick has shot the ball far better than Ellis this season, not to mention the somewhat redundant skill sets of Ellis and Brandon Jennings. He’s a more efficient player than Ellis and after a career of having to come off the bench, it would be interesting to see what he could do with a starting role.
Conversely, Ellis is great at putting points on the board, but he scores them in an inefficient manner, often taking too many shots. He might thrive if given a chance to run the second unit. Jamal Crawford was similar to Ellis in his early years in the league and he became a better player after embracing the sixth-man role. Teams often decide against shaking things up, but having Redick start and making Ellis the sixth man might be exactly what the Bucks need.
Really, though, while Redick and Ellis will have to co-exist this season, if Redick works out, he could end up emerging as Ellis’ eventual replacement. Redick will be a free agent after this season, while Ellis will be on board through 2013-14. If Redick outshines Ellis the rest of the way, it’s not inconceivable that the Bucks could simply re-sign him and then try to trade what would then be the expiring contract of Ellis. Ellis does have an early termination option, but considering the mediocre season he’s having, it’s highly doubtful that he will exercise it.
At any rate, bringing in Redick was a great move for the Bucks. It adds potency to an offense that could certainly use it, and it gives the Bucks a serious threat off the bench. With Milwaukee likely to be one of the lower playoff seeds, bringing in a great scorer like Redick makes them a much more fearsome team. Will it be enough to put them past the Miami Heat or New York Knicks? Probably not, but if nothing else, the Bucks could give either of those teams a real scare, and they are quite well equipped for the future.