After the Milwaukee Bucks traded for J.J. Redick, there was a feeling that they made a terrific move for the time being, adding a solid ball-handler and three-point shooter to the rotation, but little was answered in terms of long-term plans.
Milwaukee now has three guys who should all be starting with Redick, Monta "Have it all" Ellis and Brandon Jennings, yet it doesn't make sense to have them all on the floor together for more than a handful of possessions every game.
They all have very distinct skills, but they overlap so much that the three of them on the court together is an excess in ball-handlers and inevitably under-utilizes one of them, most notably Redick, who is the more passive ball-handler of the three.
While Redick's skill set is more limited than that of Jennings or Ellis, it's easy to argue that he's better at more specific things than either Ellis or Jennings.
Redick is a terrific three-point shooter, he's a very smart passer and he's underrated when it comes to his ability to run an offense and create a legitimate flow.
Jennings and Ellis are notable ball-stoppers who work best when they're expected to play in isolation and make a move to the rim, either finishing or kicking out for a handful of assists each game.
All three players are starters, and all three players have some form of expiring contract at the end of this season.
Ellis has a player option for $11 million to play in Milwaukee next season, and it's widely accepted that he'll opt out and look for a bigger, long-term deal.
Whether or not he'll get what he's looking for is definitely up in the air, and I'm prone to think that he may end up disappointed, but it makes sense for him to try.
Jennings is a restricted free agent whom the Bucks will let look for a contract on the open market and then decide whether or not to re-sign, and Redick is just a plain old free agent.
So what should Milwaukee spend their money on, and who should they put the most stock in.
While Jennings has the most potential to grow of any player, I actually see Redick as the most important of the three.
Redick is just the type of guy you want to have on an upper mid-level contract who can be the Pepto Bismol that settles the stomach of your team.
He's going to be the cheapest of the three, and he offers the most distinct and refined skill set, in that he knows exactly what he's good at and he is going to continue to excel in those particular departments.
Meanwhile, Ellis is going to be on his second real contract following his rookie deal, meaning he's likely become the player that he'll be for the next few years before he starts to decline.
Then there's Brandon Jennings, who is a very skilled, if inefficient young point guard. He's a great player to have in that he is confident enough to take and make big shots late in games, but he's also learning to temper his shot attempts and pass a bit more.
Perhaps if he played for a team with a well-balanced offense featuring some kind of formation of a natural offense, rather than one centered around drivers and offensive rebounders.
In that sense, it seems to be more important to keep Jennings around over Ellis. There's more of a chance of building something, and it clears up the logjam in their backcourt.
Letting Ellis walk, or helping another team out with a sign-and-trade would give them the opportunity to pick something up while keeping their long defenders in the frontcourt.
In essence they would still have the unique style of defense that their team is built upon, but also a chance to build something offensively—and it should give them a bit of room to add a free agent or two, as they've only got $40 million on the books for next season.
They've got some decisions to make, but the choices seem cut and dry, and borderline obvious at this point.
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