Michael Redd was always a long shot to help the Phoenix Suns this season. He's been out of the game a long time and to walk on to a team already dealing with questions about roles and rotations is quite the challenge even for a guy as nice and pious as Redd.
Michael has gone 1-12 after his first game and we know how misleading first games back can be. Redd didn't even play on the second of a back-to-back in New York on a night that saw Steve Nash and Grant Hill each play 38 minutes.
Giving Redd more time to adjust and get in game shape is only the right thing to do. Frankly, it's the only thing to do.
But it's no surprise at all to hear him talk about his struggles adjusting to playing with the Suns. We've heard it all before. Players, particularly shooting guards who are used to having the ball in their hands, find themselves relegated to spotting up in the corner while Steve Nash runs the show.
This sound at all familiar?
Phoenix Suns shake up staring lineup vs. New York Knicks
"The more I play, the more I'll get used to playing," Redd said. "It just hasn't happened. I've got to get adjusted to the system. Coach and I talked about other ways to get me the ball when I come in the game. I'm used to having the ball in my hands and doing things. It's an adjustment."
Why Michael Redd wasn't signed sooner and at least able to participate in the limited training camp with the Suns is a question I've yet to find an answer to. (Then again, I've not really had a chance yet to ask the right people.) (And besides, does it really matter?) (Probably, it matters some since Redd would have had an additional three weeks or so.) (But maybe the Suns didn't want his rehab period to interfere with camp.) (Or maybe Redd was exploring other options.) (Probably, I shouldn't deal in idle speculation couched in mysterious parentheses). (Ok, I'll stop now.)
In other news, Gentry shook up the starting lineup to get Dudley on the bench where he can help the second unit flow a bit better and put Shannon Brown with Steve Nash where he won't feel the need to emulate his buddy, Kobe Bean Bryant.
Of course, Brown didn't start with Nash. Ronnie Price started with Nash for reasons that aren't all that clear but it doesn't matter since Price played just 15 minutes on Wednesday and Brown was on the court in crunch time pinballing in a three from the corner.
It's a shame that Morris couldn't play more due to stomach flu (aka puking his guts out) but I'm looking forward to seeing Morris and Gortat on the floor together more. They are a good fit (if a bit undersized) and should help with the rebounding and give the Suns a low post option (if Nash is willing to use it).
What lineup do you like? Does it really matter?
"We went back and looked and right now we're Number 27 in the NBA in second-quarter points. We've got to get that unit to the point where we're at least playing even and not playing from behind."
Wednesday night in New York, Gentry teamed Ronnie Price with Steve Nash to begin the game. Although Price's line was a -5 coupled with zero points, the Suns won, and reserve Shannon Brown hit a decisive shot to ice the game. Price is a defensive specialist, so the lack of offense isn't much of a surprise. Bolstering the second unit with Dudley, Frye, and Brown adds (in theory) the offense to sustain the squad while Nash rests. Sebastian Telfair filled in at the point as Nash rested, playing 10 minutes with a bucket and -1. While Telfair is limited in many aspects, he can be a play maker and has the quickness to take it to the hole. If there was a loser in this reconfiguration, it may have been Jared Dudley, who while playing 17 minutes, missed all four of his shots.
On the front line, Markieff Morris started in place of Channing Frye. Morris had a stomach ailment which limited his court time, but there is no clear drop off starting the rookie in place of Frye, who may just be best coming off the bench as evident by his 3-4 performance to go with 4 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.
If Morris can provide an offensive punch to make up for Price's lack of offensive prowess, just maybe everything equals out. Jared Dudley has always sparked the bench, and while moving him out of the starting 5 may seem personally like a negative thing, Gentry says the lineup changes were not demotions.
Josh Childress said it best when describing his own situation: "Coach is just trying to figure out lineups and what works..."
Michael Redd was signed by the Suns and debuted with a 12 point performance after not playing since the 2010 season. He followed that performance by draining one out of his next 12 shot attempts. There was no doubt Redd would be rusty. He didn't play versus the Knicks last night. He admits he isn't ready: "I'm not in a rhythm at all. It's my movement on the court that's better. I'm starting to pick up the offense more. Other than that, I feel good." The good news is he isn't hurt. The bad news is the proverbial "I need to learn the system." We've heard that before now haven't we? Some guys pick it up while others never will. It would be wonderful if Shannon Brown could make us forget that Michael Redd is even on the roster, but I won't hold my breath.
For more, check out: Coro/AZ Central: Suns Shake up Starting Lineup