Redd cooking in the toaster
The legendary original Voice of the Bucks, Eddie Doucette, used to describe drives to the lane as "going into the toaster". Beginning with last season's play-offs, Michael Redd has elevated his game by spending more time there.
I think it all began with Game Two of last year's Piston series. After a poor Game One, in which the Pistons voracious defense choked Redd off on the perimeter and scuttled his scoring, Redd knew he had to do something different. He did. He began to attack the basket with vigor, and began to score at will. The Pistons could not contain him for the rest of the series. Having succeeded with it against one of the Association's top defenses, Redd carried his new, more aggressive, philosophy forward into this season, with much success.
Redd's eFG is up this season, but, it might surprise you to learn, its actually down on jump shots alone. It has gone up overall because he is driving to the basket with more regularity and finishing his drives with much greater success.
Last season 72% of Redd's shots were jumpers, and he had an eFG of 47.6% on those shots. This season only 65% of Redd's shots have been jumpers, with an eFG of 43.6%. Last season he took only 26% of his shots in close, with an eFG of 56% (somewhat mediocre for close shots by guards, since most of those shots are driving layups). This season he has lived in the lane. He has raised his close shot percentage to 34%, and he is making nearly 67% of those shots.
This is also reflected in his higher "Basket Attack" ratio (FTA/FGA). Last season that ratio was 33.6%, this season it is up to nearly 38%.
The adjustment in Redd's game was on stark display last night against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. Kobe Bryant used to be able to choke Redd's jump shot, and by extension Redd's game, simply by using his height to challenge Redd's release. Last night Kobe was not ready for the new Redd, and paid the price. Redd's aggression forced Bryant into early foul difficulty, and, for once, Redd got the better of his All-Star rival.