As Zimmerman wrote earlier today, the Phoenix Suns could potentially catch lightning in a bottle with Michael Redd.
Despite two major knee surgeries, the 32-year-old comes to Phoenix with virtually zero risk. Sure, he’s only played 28 games in the past two seasons, but for the veteran minimum he’s more than worthy of an injury flyer.
If the Suns whiff and Phoenix’s renowned training staff can’t work wonders on Redd a la Grant Hill, all that’s lost is a little more than a million dollars. If Redd can’t revitalize his career in purple and orange, as Jay Z said, it’s On to the Next One for the Suns.
But even with his potential to regain Milwaukee form and the lack of risk he brings, it’s important to understand that Redd isn’t the answer to Phoenix’s offensive woes. The Suns’ anemic offense goes well beyond Michael Redd.
They aren’t averaging 83.5 points per game – 28th in the NBA – because they’re missing a 32-year-old sharpshooter to spread the floor. Phoenix isn’t the seventh-least efficient offense in the league because it’s hurting for another three-point specialist.
The problem isn’t making open shots, it’s creating open shots. The Suns have more than enough shooters to spread the floor. Aside from Grant Hill and Josh Childress, every Suns wing or guard is a legitimate three-point threat. Between Steve Nash, Jared Dudley, Channing Frye, Shannon Brown, and even Markieff Morris at times, the Suns have a handful of shooters to choose from.
What the Suns need – and have needed since Joe Johnson left for Atlanta – is another creator. They need someone to alleviate Nash from the constant pressures of carrying this team’s scoring duties on his back. Michael Redd isn’t the answer, or really even a portion of the answer, to that problem.
Yes, if he’s making shots, Nash’s driving lanes will open up that much more. Sure, if Redd is dialed in and even a fraction of what he was during his golden days with the Bucks, the Suns’ offense has the potential go off from time to time.
But that’s the case with any of Phoenix’s players. If Frye’s drilling threes, the Suns are tough to beat. If Dudley gets in the mix, Nash has more room to operate.
The Suns’ problem lies in their philosophy. Their blueprint is backwards. Playmakers are supposed to open up shots for shooters, shooters aren’t supposed to open up lanes for playmakers.
If the Suns plan to rely on Redd, they’re simply living and dying by the three ball to make up for their inability to create off the bounce or in the post. On one hand, that’s the Suns’ only option.
They’re not going to find an instant offense type of guy for a discount in free agency. But they also have to find ways to use the roster they do have, whether it’s through more sets or augmented roles. Nash will wear down if he faces hard traps out of the pick and roll for 64 more games.
Phoenix needs to find a way to create offense through someone other than Nash. Unfortunately for the Suns, that solution doesn’t seem to be on the current roster, even with Redd in the mix.
So while Redd is a risk-free signing that could give the Suns a perimeter scoring punch they need, he won’t solve their offensive problems. He’s not the solution to their epic problem. That solution may have to wait until the offseason.
Tags: Michael Redd