Redick faced ‘uphill battle’ in crowded backcourt
ST. FRANCIS, Wis. — J.J. Redick was brought to Milwaukee to help the Bucks climb out of the eighth spot and possibly make some noise in the playoffs.
While Redick certainly isn’t to blame for the disappointing end to Milwaukee’s season, the veteran shooting guard never found his shooting touch and never really fit in with the rest of the Bucks roster.
Acquired from Orlando at the trade deadline along with Ish Smith and Gustavo Ayon in exchange for Tobias Harris, Beno Udrih and Doron Lamb, Redick shot just 31.8 percent from beyond the arc with the Bucks, a big dip from his 39.0 career average.
There was a feeling that it was only a matter of time before Redick broke out – or at least had one of his can’t-miss games – but it never happened. Milwaukee lost 15 of its last 21 games, went just 12-17 after the Feb. 21 trade and was swept by the Heat in the first round of the playoffs.
“I think you learn something from every situation,” Redick said of his time with the Bucks. “I think it was a great, great learning experience. I’m a Christian, so my faith is a big part of my life and how I view the world and how I view things. I think that God doesn’t want us to be complacent. I’m a believer in that. Often times we are placed in challenging situations or what we thought we were comfortable is now we are placed in a situation where we are playing catch up. It’s all an opportunity to get better. I will reflect and learn and get better this summer.”
Why was the move to Milwaukee such a challenging situation for Redick?
“Just being on a new team and coming to a team where guys were comfortable in their roles and now you are placed 54 games into the season,” Redick said. “You have to adjust on the fly because you are comfortable doing one thing. It’s a lot of adjustments. Basketball is basketball but chemistry is obviously an important part of playing.”
A reason for Redick’s inconsistent play with the Bucks could have been his inconsistent minutes. The reason for his inconsistent minutes also could have been his inconsistent play, but former Bucks coach Jim Boylan was faced with the challenge of finding enough playing time to keep Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Redick and Mike Dunleavy happy, while trying to find a lineup that could win games.
When all was said and done, Redick only played 2.8 less minutes per game in Milwaukee than he did in Orlando, but the constant changing of the rotation never allowed him to get into a groove.
“It ended up being four guards,” Redick said. “If you just looked at our roster it was Monta and Brandon being similar and Mike and I being similar. There were four guys for two spots. It was a challenge for Jim to try and figure that out and for the players game in and game out not knowing things.”
While the new-look roster never gelled, Redick knows he didn’t play as well as he would have liked in the time he was on the floor. As a player who is quick to analyze what he could have done better to help the team, Redick admitted soon after the trade that he was brought in to help the Bucks improve their playoff positioning.
Going from one of the worst teams in the league in Orlando to a team with two scoring guards, Redick’s scoring numbers were expected to dip. But the shooting numbers dropping was unexpected.
“I felt like it was a bit of an uphill battle at times,” Redick said. “Again, I’m a self-critic first. When I look back this summer at where I want to get better at there will be some things, even shooting-wise, that I feel like I can get better at.”
In the playoffs, Redick minutes dropped to just 17.3 per game, and he averaged just 7.3 points per game. Redick played just eight minutes in Milwaukee’s Game 2 loss in Miami and said later in the playoffs that he hadn’t spoke to Boylan since the end of the regular season.
Redick admitted he did have a conversation with Boylan the morning after the Game 2 loss and told the coach he understood what went on and that him sitting was a non-issue.
Unrestricted free agency is an exciting time for a player who has spent the majority of his career with one team. The Bucks will certainly show interest in Redick this offseason, but also have Jennings, Ellis and Dunleavy as free agents, as well.
Redick will spend the offseason living in Austin, Texas while training at the University of Texas as he explores his options for the future.
“I don’t take anything for granted,” Redick said. “If I have one option or four options this summer, I’ll be excited about anything. I feel blessed that I made it through my seventh year, and I’m healthy and in one piece. I’m excited about the future. It’s probably my only chance to be unrestricted during the prime of my career. It’s exciting.”
As somebody who likes to keep a tight inner circle, Redick plans to consult with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, former Duke assistant and current Northwestern coach Chris Collins along with his wife and parents before he makes a decision.
Though the frustrations with how he fit in his time with the Bucks this season are evident, Redick could still end up back in Milwaukee next season if the fit is better this time around.
“Looking at our roster we had a lot of good pieces,” Redick said. “Going forward the Bucks have some really nice pieces.”
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