Friday, December 11th, 2009 at 11:25 am  |  61 responses

Decade’s Most: Underrated

Michael Redd: Olympian, All-Star… overlooked.

by DeMarco Williams

Two nights ago, my dad, wife and I were on our way to the Hawks/Bulls game. We had about 10 minutes to go before tip. Needless to say, the streets surrounding Philips Arena were at a standstill with Atlanta’s fashionably late. The traffic gave me a chance to ask my loved ones’ help with this very story. “Between Tayshaun Prince, Derek Fisher, Bruce Bowen, Antawn Jamison and Michael Redd,” I asked, “who’s the most underrated player of the 2000s?”

My pop, a wise, old-school cat who swears everything from air to the alley-oops was better in the 80s, tussled with the question before giving his nod to Jamison or Redd.

My wife, bless her soul, could only manage the following: “Babe, who is Michael Redd?”

Heaven only knows how many times husbands have been asked that one.

If casual fans can’t even tell you what team Redd’s been balling below the radar on for these past nine seasons (20/4/2 career average), there’s definitely a problem somewhere. If the masses don’t know that Redd’s finished in the NBA’s top 10 in scoring four times this decade, that’s an issue and I’ll be damned if I let the slept-on sharpshooter get sidestepped any longer. In fact, I’m declaring this story be the platform for naming the three culprits that have had the heaviest hand in Redd’s mainstream obscurity…

Michael’s City- Milwaukee is a great place. Laverne & Shirley reruns and Miller Lite commercials tell us as much. Still, if a pro athlete’s name is not “Favre” around those parts, local media and the Journal Sentinel have a hard time selling the story. Prince Fielder and Donald Driver are amazing area talents, but few outside of Wisconsin would ever recognize any of them in a Burger King line. With Redd specifically, there’s no reason folks are clueless to the fact the super steady 30-year-old is already No. 5 on the franchise’s all-time scoring list and coming off a sixth straight year of leading the Bucks in scoring average. OK, so fans in the Bay Area (Stephen Jackson), Charlotte (Gerald Wallace), San Antonio (Bowen, Manu Ginobilli) and Sacramento (Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Kevin Martin) have similar arguments for their overlooked stars. But from where I’m standing, those places have all done marginally better jobs selling their hoops stars than Brew City has.

Michael’s Recent Injuries- At this very second, Redd’s somewhere nursing a strained tendon that has left him sidelined much of the year. The Columbus, OH, native has only averaged 52 games the past three seasons. It’s hard to get people to see your genius when, well, they haMichael Reddve such a hard time actually seeing you. Had Redd, who’s quietly already eclipsed the 11,000-point plateau, been healthier for a few more road trips the past few years, people would witnessed one of the purest jumpshots—Michael’s 45 percent from the field, 38 percent from deep and over 85 percent at the stripe for his career—Stern’s league has to offer. And who knows, a Redd at 100 percent last year may have even been enough for the Bucks to earn their first Playoffs appearance since ’05-06.

Michael’s Personality- The Bucks have a rookie, Brandon Jennings, you might have heard about. Good kid, great game. Doing a hell of a job shooting holes in my paragraph about Milwaukee’s media negligence too. The camera loves Jennings’ flair and his flash. Redd’s not about any of that. Yeah, the humble scorer can drop 57 on you like he did against Utah back in ’06. He might even shoot an NBA-record eight threes in a quarter like he did versus Houston in ’02. But for the most part, he’s centrally concerned with getting his 25 and not ruffling any feathers. That’s great when you’re trying to impress your future father-in-law. Not so much if you have dreams of ESPN highlights and energy drink commercials.

But what’s important now isn’t any SportsCenter reel, or reasoning behind his one career all-star game appearance or even an explanation as to how Ben Gordon made SLAM’s top 50 list over him. Nah, what’s most vital is making sure Michael Redd finally gets the props he deserves. For nearly a decade, the dude has been a certified beast. The stats speak volume. Sadly, so too does the silence. With a different city and a different persona, things may have played out differently. But all that’s a “What if…” for a different time.

Right now, Michael Redd is a proud, ever-dependable Milwaukee Buck. And I’m the only person to blame for my wife being completely oblivious to that fact.


For more Decade Awards, check out the archive.

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  • slamfan4life

    Redd comin back will be good for the Bucks, only if Jennings starts passing the rock a LOT more cuz Redd and JEnnings both have that 1st scoring mentality

  • Kas

    I always thought he was overrated. he cant do much except shoot

  • cramzy

    Bro should have went to Cleveland when he had the chance. He’d get a lot of love knocking down treys off of Lebron passes.

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    I agree with cramzy. Should’ve took that chance he had but he rejected it. He didnt’ want to play 2nd banana. But now he’s going to be playing 2nd banana to a rookie. Ironic.

  • gmoney187

    give me someone who defends better and has a more complete game. jamison is better and never gets any love.

  • will

    I think that Redd is actually properly rated for what he is. Like Kas said, he really can’t do much more than score. He shoots and scores with the best though and I think people give it up for him as far as that goes. He’s been an all-star and Olympian but his Bucks teams have never been really good so he not deserving of being mentioned with the true greats, IMO.

  • Ken

    Yeah, I’m not feeling this pick. Jamison would have been better.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Can you really be an underrated Olympian with a max contract? Um, if anything he’s overrated. And, he’s never made it to the second round.

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    I was half-expecting Marion to be here. Since he always claims himself to be the most underrated.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Yeah, I always kinda felt that Redd was underrated in the public eye but overrated by basketball pundits. He’s a volume scorer but brings nothing else to the table, he looked painfully out of place on the Redeem Team. Lots of guys want to spread their own wings and then realized they are not good enough to be option 1 on a title contender… I suspect that he would like to come home to OH now but I’m not sure the Cavs would want him. Bad knees, a bit overweight, no D…

  • http://freshnproper.com Q


  • MSkittle

    How can he be underrated if he’s getting $96 million? Aaron Brooks and Al Horford have my vote. Bogut is more underrated than him, too.

  • http://myspace.com/mcnarrative Kieran

    He is over rated if anything. Poor defender, poor playmaker, pretty much just a catch and shoot guy, bad for team chemistry. Yet he’s been on all star teams, olympic teams and has a massive contract. He is the definition of over rated.

  • LA Huey

    Yeah, I’ll take Joe over this dude.

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    Damn. I love DeMarco’s work, but I gotta agree with everyone else. This was a horrible pick. Michael Redd is one of those player’s who made 10 yrs. worth of money on 3 yrs. worth of work. I’m not saying Redd isn’t a good player or a great teammate but here is a short list of players who are a helluva lot more underrated:Deron Williams(Never been an all-star, despite being one of the top 3 pg’s for the past 3 years.), Joe Johnson, Antwan Jamison, Caron Butler. I’ve really thought SLAM has been on point with the decades best but this was a big swing and a miss.

  • Atrain

    As a Bucks fan I would have agreed with this pick 2 years ago, but lately with all the injuries its hard to think of him as underrated. As many have mentioned, he’s a one-trick pony. He’s not the alpha dog on Milwaukee anymore, BJ is. And Bogut is much more vital to the team’s success. I like Mike and he’s a stand up guy but this pick seems more tied to his draft status as a former 2nd rd pick that anything. That said, any pub for my Bucks is welcome.

  • dpak

    you’re not underrated if you have a max contract.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    Gerald deserved it more. Or at least thats my opinion. Maybe Micheal Redd has more awards, but today if you ask a typical fan who micheal redd is they will say: the often injured jumpshooter. Milwaulke belongs to Brandon Jennings now. Gerald Wallace owns Charlotte.

  • youngmuggsy

    Has anyone ever watched Michael Redd play? Yeah he has a nice J but he’s by no means just a catch and shoot guy, infact he scores most of his points driving to the hoop and getting to the free throw line. How this guy got labeled as just a shooter is beyond me.

  • will

    Yeah, Redd does get a label for being a “just a shooter” but everyone here (rightfully) agrees that he is really “just a scorer”. That’s why people are having a tough time calling him underrated. He was under the radar up until maybe 2006, then it became trendy to label him underrated to the point that he got fairly overrated. I do like the Jamison pick but perhaps Gerald Wallace is a better pick because he doesn’t seem to be on the radar ever thanks to being a BETcat. Not saying Wallace is a superstar but he doesn’t seem to get his just due for his versitility.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Tayshaun Prince.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Tay is even underrated in these comments.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Tay’s offensive game is ugly….and your on the we respect offense only website

  • tavoris

    I agree with BETCATS. Crash is one of the best two-way players in the game, and has been ever since he escaped from Sac-town.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    I don’t know how someone who gets picked for the OLYMPICS can ever be called under-rated….the OLYMPICS man…

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Most under rated player for the 2000s?
    Deron Williams.

  • http://www.twitter.com/notebooknick thesubwayconnection

    I’d say Joe Johnson or Awntawn Jamison first.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Antawn Jamison for sure.
    Actually, probably Deron Williams too–at least Jamison has played in an All-Star game!
    And Joe Johnson isn’t being underrated anymore, I hope.

  • J

    Jamison & Crash, i don’t think JJ is underrated anymore

  • http://www.broy7.com nate the great

    yeah, Redd is an amazing player. but i do feel he is underrated. you guys are going off his stats, watch the guy play. and he didnt look awkward in the olympics, he did what they asked him to do. come off the bench, play a few minutes, and sink 3-4 threes.

  • JOSO

    Redd over jamison. but i think a hand full of player should here. bibby, t-mac, joe, stephen jack, corey magg, elton brand, list goes on ppl shud look thru the whole nba roster then make a choice

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    GERALD WALLACE!!! he is “crash”ing the boards at an insane rate this year, points, blocks! steals, and the dunks, oh me oh my the dunks!!!!

  • MagicChicken

    For some reason, Houston has made it into the playoffs every year for the past few years, despite having injuries to major players. Sure Aaron Brookes has risen, and Artest/Ariza have had their day, but there’s only been two constants on that team … Scola and Battier. Now Scola is an alright players, but I don’t think he’s the one carrying that team … I think it’s Battier. Sure, he doesn’t run offense a lot, but if we wanna talk about great defensive players (ala Bowen/Tay) and great leaders (ala Fisher), then we gotta throw this guy in here somewhere I think. He’s the only explanation I can give to Houston’s continued against-the-odds success … unless someone has a better one?

  • reidz

    @magicChicken rick adelman even though I agree Battier goes into the equation

  • LCD screen cleaner

    No way. Not Redd. Ginobili (IMO). The guy is Kobe without the salary, the american citizenship and the polarizing personality. Although I must say that Redd is perfect with team USA, as team “scrub” (only RELATIVELY) with a much smaller ego to feed. Very skilled, awesome filler, but not a superstar.

  • havana

    I would have picked Ginobili instead. The guy has played every type of basketball there is (international, world, nba) and won and dominated at every level. A very underrated feat, just ask Brandon Jennings, Jennero Pargo, and Childress how ‘easy’ the crossover to Europe is…. Or Darko, Bellineli etc. how they have faired in the NBA. The NBA and Europe are two different worlds, to dominate in both is truly impressive. And yes Ginobili does dominate in the NBA, he is the player that the most dominant team of the decade goes to in the clutch. Hes the second best closer of the decade (efficiency wise), Only player to win a Olympic Gold, NBA ring and Euroleague title. Was cited by Daryl Morley and other NBA stat people in Michael Lewis’ NY Times piece as being an ‘anomaly’, the only NBA player (incl Kobe) who presents no evident weaknesses, goes equally well left, right, off the dribble, pull up, mid range etc. Plus he’s one of the most entertaining yet least talkd about players in the league. Outside of Kobe, I would most like to have Ginobili’s arsenal of moves (although I’d like Lebron’s physique) real heads know!!

  • havana

    Ginobili will be underrated though til the day he becomes a first ballot Hall of Famer (nearly guaranteed to happen, HOF is after all overall contribution to the game of basketball). Your Michael Redd subtitle read “Olympian, All Star, overlooked…..” with Ginobili it could have read “Olympian. Euroleague champion, NBA champion, All Star, Hall of Famer, overlooked” . Enough said

  • L

    What about Mike Bibby, champ w arizona, great young pg leading sactown to the conf finals then a great leader for the uprising hawks. Never been an all star, no olympic love. L

  • http://www.sixers.com 360vue

    Very funny… Michael Redd… ahaha… he’s credited as being one of the best shooters, that’s almost his entire package, with a few more skills thrown in. All-Star, Olympian, 17mil or whatever a season… Underrated? That seems overrated for a pure shooter… Antawn Jamison trumps 20/2/4 with more like 22/8/2/1 whilst having identical FG% and 3p% in few more mins a game, considerably less frequently injured, all whilst being undersized and only a couple of inches taller than Redd, and with two All-Star appearance but yet still less minutes than Redd… Antawn actually managed to lead his team to a winning season as the sole cat leading the team, something Redd ain’t done as number one… How is someone who belongs as a second fiddle but had the best part of the decade as number one and a 90+ million dolloar contract be decade’s most underrated?! Weak sauce

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    mike bibby is in the same boat as michael redd. he doesn’t play any semblance of defense. What about al jefferson. up until this year he has never averaged less then a double double and he has never been an all star

  • http://nationofmillions.ca ciolkstar

    yuck. terrible choice.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Scola is more than just an alright player. His skillset is great.

  • matt

    you guys are crazy. manu ginobli is not underrated by any means all we ever hear about from the media is how the spur’s postseason discuss depends on his health year after year after year how his game is the closest in style to jordans how he is one of the most clutch players how he catches bats in his bare hands yadda yadda yadda



  • matt

    *success not discuss

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    MY definition of “underrated”"
    *Never been an all-star
    *Never been all-nba (does NOT include nba defense)
    *Never had a magazine cover e.g. SLAM, D!ME, S.I
    *Does not have a max contract (or anything over $10M a season)
    By that criteria;
    Jamison, Redd, Ginobli, Joe Johnson are not eligible.
    Shane Battier however is however.

  • rav

    gotta be manu – how that dunce marbury has more asg appearances than him i do not know

  • http://www.basketball247.co.uk Greg Tanner

    Several people here have already said this…but I’mma say it again:

    How can anyone who’s been picked to represent Team USA at the Olympics, has a max contract AND been picked as an NBA All-Star been classified as “over-rated”???

  • http://www.sixers.com 360vue

    Going on Hursty’s criteria, I’d say Crash Wallace. Forget Battier, what he brings to the game as a style of play is ignored, the exceptional hustle, the suffocating D, the array of intangibles. It doesn’t matter who you are you’ll be underappreciated. It’s not Battier as a player, it’s any player in such a mould but Shane has been lucky enough to have been playing 36mpg for most of his career, other hustle guys barely get the look in. I’ll be frank, Crash could be a franchise player, Battier couldn’t. Neither get the praise they deserve, but Battier is one dimensional compared to Wallace. Some people know Gerald but hardly any know how good he is. Although it’s taken him a while to get going admittedly, but Sactown never gave him a chance which was 3 seasons p!ssed away and the Cats are probably up there in the discussion for worst team of the decade along with NYK and ATL, although that’s because they’ve had to start from scratch whilst the other two just made an ish of the last eight nine years. If dude was any where else, particularly in West people would be all up on him

  • VA

    well you cant be overrated if you were drafted in the 2nd round and have had the success that Redd has. By the way, Hursty’s definition of underrated would mean that Speedy Claxton is the most underrated player.

  • http://4Aitkenroad,Hamilton,ScotlandML37YA Hambone

    chauncey ba ba billups

  • BigMAN1

    his own wife didn’t know his name?

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Ok, I’m going to say Wallace then. But lots of people “know” Crash. Same with Battier.
    Maybe it should be “under appreciated”.
    Speedy Claxton.. sigh.

  • Shem

    Bogut is a bust, he has too many injuries and just started playing well. Same goes for aaron brooks he just started playing good and has yet to have a season of good numbers. I really think Antawn Jamison is a better player and not too many people know about him. It’s different for Redd because the Wizards have actually made the playoffs and used to make to the playoffs yearly.. they still do. Milwaukee hasn’t made the playoffs in how long so yeah Redd is more under the radar but its explainable. As for Jamison, a big man that averages 20/8/2/35 3PT% for 12 seasons making the playoffs 5 times. He atleasat deserves Rasheed Wallace publicity

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    - shem: I was right with you until the Rasheed Wallace comparison. The Pistons got to the Eastern Conference Finals 6 times, not to mention their appearance in the finals PLUS winning a championship – So Rasheed Wallace deservedly gets more attention/respect than Jamison. BUT Certainly he should be ahead of Redd in the “deserves more accolades department”.

  • rikson

    How you can compare players by their playoff comparison, without having a look at their teams goals is beyond me! Especially if you one of the teams is milwaukee, which has the goal to be profitable and NOTHING more….

  • rikson

    *comparison = appearances

  • http://deputygm.com Colin

    Redd has actually become a pretty good defender over the past couple of seasons. Watch the box scores of the players he defends, and you’ll be surprised – last season, his opponent counterpart’s PER was as good as any of the All-Star SGs.

  • Juice20

    what about lamar odom

  • Matt

    I’ve been a Bucks fan my entire list. Not only is Michael Redd not underrated, if anything he’s overrated.

    This is a guy that does nothing but score at the expense of his team.

    He doesn’t make anyone on the court better.

    He’s a poor passer.

    His shooting has gone down year after year.

    He doesn’t rebound.

    He’s a poor defender.

    All the while he’s revered by writers who don’t watch Milwaukee Basketball regularly. Hell he even made an Olympic team and then subsequently stunk up the joint.

  • Darren

    i would even say kevin martin

  • reidz

    rip hamilton