DAR Sports Underrated Series: Michael Redd
By Jeff Axel
There are a few players you look at from the 2000’s era which was the slowest pace in NBA history and wonder if they would have thrived in a faster paced more shooter friendly era like the early 2020’s. One of the Most underrated players from that decade is Class of 2000 sharp shooter Michael Redd. As a second round pick from arguably one of the weakest draft classes in NBA history Redd is 2nd all time in the draft class with 11,972 career points and a career average of 19.0 PPG. Although Redd got off to a slow start with limited playing time behind Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson averaging 2 points his rookie season, he would start to pick up the pace by putting up 11ppg in his second season. After that, his career was on an upward trajectory. His first breakout season was in 2002-2003 when he averaged 15 PPG and 5 RPG on 47% from the field and 44% from 3 on 5 attempts per game in 28 minutes per game. Redd instilled so much confidence in the Bucks front office that season that they moved on from Ray Allen at the trade deadline and traded him to the Sonics for Gary Payton.
With an extended opportunity, Redd showed an elite ability to spot up and hit 3 pointers, use screens to create shots in the mid range, and cut off the ball and finish at the rim. Redd rewarded them the following season with one of his best seasons of his career becoming a full time starter for the first time in his career. He averaged 21.7 PPG and made his first and only All-Star team and All-NBA 3rd team selection in 2003-2004. In 2004-2005, Redd followed that up averaging 23 PPG and the following season (2005-2006) he averaged 25.4 PPG while shooting 40% from 3 on 5 attempts per game. Due to a lot of wing players during this era playing at a high level, Redd got overshadowed and only made 1 All Star team despite averaging over 20 PPG for 6 seasons in a row.
Redd’s consistency was rewarded by making the 2008 team USA olympic basketball roster.His production was stellar during his peak (26.7 PPG in 2006-2007, 22.7 PPG in 2007-2008 and 21.2ppg in 2008-2009 before the first of a series of knee injuries derailed his career). Despite only having 3 playoff appearances in his career with his best series being in 2006 against the Pistons losing in 5 games where he averaged 27 PPG on 53% from the field and 47% from 3, Redd had multiple quality regular season performances. His career high is 57 points in 2006 including 42 in the 2nd half, 45 points and 5 assists in 2006 against Kobe and the Lakers, 52 points on 8-13 from 3 against the Bulls in 2007 and 11 games of 40 points or more in his career shooting above 50% from the field in all of them except one (he shot 49%). While being efficient on all 3 levels, one wonders that if Redd would have had a better supporting cast and better health towards the end of his career if he could have had Hall of Fame potential. Ultimately, Michael Redd was one of the most underrated scorers from the 2000’s and his shooting ability was fun to watch once he got in the zone.