Thursday, the Bucks traded Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb, and Beno Udrih for Ish Smith, Gustavo Ayon and J.J Redick. Site editor K.L Chouinard posted his reactions to the trade immediately after the trade. While he said that he was opposed to the trade, he finished the piece asking how we could get Monta Ellis to accept a spot on the bench. Most basketball fans in and out of Milwaukee know about how frustrating of a player Monta has been this season so it would seem like a breath of fresh air to have a player of Redick’s caliber to step in and take his minutes.
Friday, head coach Jim Boylan maintained that Ellis would still be the starter.
Redick’s main strength is his ability to shoot the three (averaging 39% from beyond the arc) but is a solid all-around scorer as you can tell by this shot chart from NBA.com.
People might argue that Dunleavy adds the same kind of offense at a reduced price. Perhaps that is true, but Redick adds an effective 45% shooter to a team that’s 26th in the league in overall field-goal percentage. That low percentage could quite possibly rest on the shoulders of the back court combo of Ellis and Jennings, who are both high-volume shooters converting 40% of their shots from the field.
Despite his subpar shooting, Jennings has a clear grasp of that point guard spot after the team swapped Udrih for Ish Smith. Smith has been a bench-warmer for most of his career so I can definitely see coach Boylan perhaps using either Ellis or Redick at the point guard position sparingly during games. The reason I can see that is because Redick actually came into the league as the back-up point guard on the ’06-’07 Magic team. Monta is definitely not a good distributer and shooter but he’s still an excellent ball-handler.
Going back to the shooting guard position where Redick should (but won’t) become the starter with Ellis moving to the sixth man spot. I was an advocate of Ellis becoming the sixth man even before Redick because I think that’s where his skill-set fits best. Monta excels in short spurts as a volume scorer which is ideal for a sixth man. John Hammond himself compared the Bucks’ situation to the 1980s Pistons yesterday. In that group, Vinnie Johnson, the short-burst scorer with a disinterest in defense was the one who came off the bench.
Ellis is an awful outside shooter (shot chart below) but he’s still one of the best in the game when it comes to driving to the basket. As you can see below he’s shooting around 22% from behind the three point which is pretty self-explanatory in how awful it is.
I’ve already discussed why I think Redick should be the starter at shooting guard, but how will he fit alongside of Brandon Jennings? Jennings gets a lot of backlash for being an inefficient volume shooter, but he kind of had to be that way because the Bucks really never have had that type of shooter like Redick. Sure the team has had good shooters like Ilyasova, Dunleavy and even Delfino but he’s never had a true outside threat in the back court. He’ll have a great partner in Redick to dish the ball off when he’s having an off night.
Minute distribution is probably the biggest issue when it comes to these three players. While I think Jennings will play better alongside of Redick than Monta Ellis, you’re still going to have to put Monta on the court. For example, let me put myself in the shoes of Jim Boylan who has to divvy up around 96 minutes (48×2) among Ellis, Jennings, Redick, etc. Jennings currently plays around 37 MPG which will either remain the same or increase with the backup point guard position now being manned by Ish Smith. Ish has only been in the league for three seasons but will be joining his fifth NBA team. Ish really hasn’t been much of a shooter or distributor, but he’s similar to Monta Ellis with his ability to get to the basket. Smith will probably either be inactive or the 12th man on this team.
One of the postive things you have to say about Monta’s career has to be his durability. He’s always been one of the league leaders in MPG dating back to his days in Golden State and that’s been in the same here in Milwaukee. Now that could change with the addition of Redick. I previously talked about how I want the team to use Ellis as the sixth man because I think JJ would be a better fit alongside of Jennings but I still see him playing around 26-30 MPG. Yes, that’s a huge decrease from his career average but he’s having his worst statistical season since his rookie season.
That leaves us with J.J Redick who will play around 31 MPG which is similar to what I gave Ellis and what he averaged with Orlando. Many debate that Redick will have a more decreased role the team, but I just honestly like the added offense he’ll bring to the team and would like to see him shine in a bigger role.