His days of being a team’s leading-scorer are behind him,
but that doesn’t mean he still can’t score on a whim.
Over the past three months, Michael Redd has gone from
washed up veteran just trying to get some reps on a team
going nowhere in a hurry, to the best player off the bench
of a team surging toward the playoffs.
The Suns have rebounded from a 12-19 start, thanks in
large part to improved play from just about everyone Alvin
Gentry sends in off the bench. Sebastian Telfair, Robin
Lopez, and Shannon Brown (pre-Grant Hill injury) have
bounced back from a disastrous opening six weeks.
Not one of those players has had to overcome two knee
surgeries and a full year away from the game to rehab.
Like Hill before he found wonder trainer Aaron Nelson,
Redd’s career was left for dead. His first few weeks
provided little reason to believe that Redd would ever be
an impact player in this league again. The last few weeks
have given hope that maybe he could contribute on a semi-
consistent basis. Over the last week, you’d be hard
pressed to find anyone better in the league off the bench.
For the first time in more than three years, Redd has
scored 15 or more points in four straight games. He’s
averaging more than 12 points since Hill went down with
his injury seven games ago. Without his massive efforts
Saturday vs. the Lakers and last Wednesday in Utah, the
Suns are likely playing out the string instead of knocking
on the door of the playoffs.
The Suns signed Redd in late December knowing he was a
low-risk, high-reward project. They head into the final
two weeks of the season knowing he’s a big reason they
could still be playing a month from now. They also know
he’ll be a free agent after the season.
If the Suns plan on trying to re-sign Steve Nash, and land
a big name free agent, they should also bring back Redd.
If they don’t, someone else will.