Phoenix Suns Seeing Redd
After A Lackluster Start To The Season, Planet Orange Turns Redd In Pursuit Of Points
If Michael Redd can recapture most of his past ability, his signing will pay big dividends for the Phoenix Suns. Image by Keith Allison and used under the terms of a Creative Commons license.
By Bob Goodwood
Modern Times Magazine
Dec. 30, 2011 — Phoenix Suns legend and Ring of Honor member Cotton Fitzsimmons is remembered for many things in the game of basketball but one of his most famous quotes, “You can never have too many shooters,” is especially poignant with the signing of Michael Redd.
Sure, the quote might have been uttered thousands of times before Fitzsimmons ever dominated the sidelines, but nothing else has defined the Phoenix Suns throughout their sometimes storied history — albeit as the most celebrated “bridesmaids” in NBA. And, it just happens to be what is lacking from the 2011-2012 lineup.
“Get him right, let him get back on the court, then let him do what he does best: put the ball in the basket,” Grant Hill said Thursday.
While it is true that points are hard to come by for the Phoenix Suns so far in this young season and anything that Redd could add to that would have to help this team, it will be his ability to knock down jump shots that could create a dynamic change. One jump shooter can have a big impact when his team has only one or two other guys that are a threat from the outside.
That is especially true for pick-and-roll offensive teams like the Phoenix Suns. Without at least two legitimate jump shooters waiting on the wings, Nash has no way to work his magic because opposing teams can pressure him through the “pick” and shut down the “roll.” Jump shooters who can knock down shots is what forces teams to have to succumb to the pick and roll. Without two lethal assassins sitting on the three-point line, life is hard on a pick and roll point guard.
Just think back to the :07 seconds or less days with Quentin Richardson and Joe Johnson out on the three-point line or even back to 1993 with Danny Ainge, Dan Majerle and Kevin Johnson.
Jared Dudley has earned much respect over his past three seasons with the squad, but he can’t do it alone — and maybe he is not yet ready or simply not good enough for a starting role. Nash is one of the best shooters in the game when he has the other necessary elements of the pick and roll at his disposal and isn’t pressured as he has been so far in this young season.
Giving Redd a shot at recapturing the lightning in a bottle he seemed to be able to unleash at will early in his career is a solid move that might provide some hope and optimism in the coming months as long as he can get strong and be able to find his shot. After all, although he is a 20 points per game man earlier in his career, he hasn’t scored 20 in more than two years. The fact that he is on a veteran’s minimum contract — $1.3 million for this year — makes it even better.
Fans have to be wondering what Lon Babby and Lance Blanks were thinking when they put this lineup together. After jettisoning Vince Carter and his anemic jumper, they went out and signed “dunking guard” Shannon Brown. His 42 percent career shooting percentage is heavily skewed by the fact that he is a dunker first.
There are definitely some bright lights out there — mainly rookie Markieff Morris, who has been a pleasant surprise. It looks like draft night hopes that he could be a solid contributor and a presence in the league for quite some time were accurate. He is scrappy, although still a little rough around the edges, but every one has to remember he didn't have either a summer league or full training camp. He has cracked the rotation and that is nothing but a small miracle.
Robin Lopez, too, has show flashes of being back to the level that he was at the end of the 2009-2010 season which is a blessing from heaven since Marcin Gortat suffered a broken thumb in the preseason.
Early disappointments, though are also numerous — Channing Frye chief among them. He has been credible on the boards and defense this season, but it is painfully obvious that his jump shot is suffering. Whether it is because he did not have a full training camp or some other reason, he needs to get it going or it could get even bleaker on Planet Purple.
But even with a healthy Gortat and a Frye with range, the Suns were going to go nowhere without a legit shooter near the three-point line. A Michael Redd that is three-quarters what he was early in his career can really make a difference.
Cotton was right when he said, "you can never have too many shooters." But a healthy Michael Redd is more than just a shooter, he is a season changer.
Bob Goodwood is a freelance writer currently living in Scottsdale, Ariz.