Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 12/29/11
Two winding paths of misfortune have led to the intersection of need for the Phoenix Suns and opportunity for Michael Redd. The Suns are limping toward the close of their opening week at 0-2. Redd, whose impressive career has been sidetracked by knee injury, may -- if he's not eventually reduced to limping through the compacted schedule -- be able to help. His signing was announced Thursday. This means that in their quest to identify a temporary go-to scorer, the once-mighty Phoenix offensive machine is required to take the "where do we go now?" approach. For positive spin, we give you a partial resume for Redd, a 32-year-old, 6-foot-6 wing who has spent each of his 11 NBA seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks: The 43rd selection in the 2000 NBA Draft, Redd pumped in more than 20 points per game six times in Milwaukee and has a career average of exactly 20 points per game. He was chosen over then-rookie LeBron James for the Eastern Conference All-Star team in 2004 and earned an Olympic gold medal while providing an outside shooting threat for the 2008 edition of Team USA in Beijing. A 38.3-percent career shooter from 3-point range, the veteran lefty also has demonstrated -- in his healthy days -- the ability to create mid-range shots off the bounce. "Michael Redd has a proven pedigree as an NBA scorer," Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby said. And, as the numbers indicate, Babby's right. So why was he still available? Well, Redd tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee twice. He's played in only 61 games over the past three seasons and made just 23.5 percent of his 3s in his comeback late last season. Two personnel executives with interest in upgrading their wing-shooting capabilities both told me Redd's name surfaced during internal roster-related chats, but neither team considered bringing him in for a workout. The difference in their situations and the predicament in Phoenix (struggling offense) is something strange to franchise followers. In their small sample size, the Suns are averaging 83.5 points per game (tied with the Washington Wizards for 28th in the 30-team NBA) and have an offensive-efficiency average of 92.8 points per 100 possessions, which is 27th. So here comes Michael Redd. Based on their current inability to generate offense and the bargain price tag, why not? "He will work with our renowned training staff to get into basketball shape," Babby said. "When he is ready to play, Michael will be a welcome addition to our team." Several highly credible sources provide vigorous testimonials when the Suns' training staff is discussed. It has kept Steve Nash racing downcourt despite back issues. We all know Grant Hill's career revival resides in stark contrast to his pre-Phoenix medical chart. Shaquille O'Neal supposedly knew nothing of strength and flexibility in the hips and glutes until reaching the desert. But while trainer Aaron Nelson and his staff may be state of the NBA art in preparing players for duty, they're not magicians, either. As a resurrection tonic for the achy-breaky lower body of Vince Carter, they -- along with the healing powers of a Nash pass -- were unable to restore a useful level of the old Vinsanity. When Mickael Pietrus was injured, the Suns' staff had more difficult moments. It should be noted that Shaolin monks didn't even seem to make a sufficient difference in Pietrus, whose knee examination killed a potential trade with the Toronto Raptors this month. Sometimes the training and rehab only are as effective as the investment of the patient. Based on what I've been told about Redd, player investment in the necessary preparation shouldn't be a concern. When he's ready to roll, Redd -- never a standout defender during the physical best of times -- could spend most of his defensive time tracking the bigger (slower) of the opposition's wing players. We shouldn't waste time wondering if he's now a small forward or still a shooting guard, because a lot of these defensive assignments can be interchangeable. Dudley, who's been chasing shooting guards, is strong enough to defend a lot of small forwards. He actually played that position and even took on some reserve power forwards while working for the Charlotte Bobcats. If Redd is on the court with Hill, Grant -- who's guarded pretty much everyone in the league -- may be required to check a shooting guard. And so on. The overriding concern is Redd's ability to knock down shots. If the knee doesn't disturb that process, the Suns may have an additional threat -- and without wrecking their cap flexibility for next summer.
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