Desperate to improve their perimeter game, the Milwaukee Bucks added one of the league's top shooters just prior to the NBA Trade Deadline.
The Bucks Get: SG J.J. Redick, C Gustavo Ayon and PG Ish Smith.
J.J. Redick, 28, has been playing a prominent role for the struggling Magic this season, logging a career-high 31:30 per game leading to career-highs in points (15.1), rebounds (2.4), assists (4.4), steals (0.6) and turnovers (2.1).
Injuries to the Magic backcourt have forced Redick to handle more point guard duties than he typically has throughout his seven-year NBA career, but Redick has maintained a better than 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is better than his career mark of 1.9-to-1.
Among players to have attempted at least 1000 three-pointers over the last five seasons, Redick ranks 10th, hitting 39.8% from beyond the arc.
Redick's ability to hit three-pointers is of primary importance to the Bucks, since SG Monta Ellis is one of the players jacking the most threes for them. Ellis has shot an unbelievably poor 22.8% on three-pointers this season, yet throws up nearly 3.5 attempts per game (184 attempts in 53 games).
(It also bears noting that, in the same chart, linked above, that shows Redick 10th among those to attempt 1000 three-pointers in the last five years, Ellis ranks 69th out of 69, at 32.0%).
In addition to improving the Bucks' perimeter shooting, Redick has evolved from his days as a college gunner to become an effective defender in the NBA and, at 6-foot-6, he offers more size on the wing than 6-foot-3 Ellis.
Redick may not play over 30 minutes a night in Milwaukee, but he should eat up the 18 minutes per game that Udrih played in addition to carving out time that is currently allotted to Ellis.
Making $6-million this season, Redick ought to be an attractive free agent target for many teams this summer.
After playing more than 20 minutes as a game as a rookie last season, 27-year-old Gustavo Ayon lost out to Nikola Vucevic in the battle for the Magic's starting centre spot in the wake of Dwight Howard's departure and has seen his playing time drop to 13:18 per game this season.
In 97 career games, he's averaging a modest 4.9 points and 4.2 rebounds with 0.6 blocks per game. Ayon is making $1.5-million this season and has a team option for $1.5-million next season, which makes him inexpensive post depth behind younger and more athletic options like Larry Sanders, John Henson and Ekpe Udoh.
Ish Smith, 24, has bounced around as a third point guard -- the Bucks will be his fifth NBA team since he made his way into the league as an undrafted free agent. He's an erratic shooter (36.2% from the field, 27.8% on threes in 105 career games) who isn't likely to rise above spot duty.
Earning $985,000 this season, Smith holds a player option at the same price for the next two seasons that he would seem highly likely to exercise this summer.
Milwaukee could be in a battle for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, as they currently sit 3.5-games ahead of Philadelphia and five ahead of Toronto, so adding Redick does improve their chances to make the postseasonand if they could overtake Boston or Atlanta and avoid the eighth seed, they might have a shot at a first-round upset.
The Magic Get: PG Beno Udrih, SF Tobias Harris and SG Doron Lamb.
Beno Udrih is a 30-year-old who plays a serviceable game, but his greatest appeal to the Magic is that he has an expiring contract that pays him $7.81-million this season.
Udrih started more than 200 games for Sacramento, but has been a role player in Milwaukee, playing 18 minutes per game over the last couple seasons. His reduced playing time has coincided with a drop in his three-point shooting effectiveness (down to a career-low 26.5% this season).
In any case, Udrih is certainly capable of filling a role in the rotation for a Magic team that loses night-in and night-out (26 losses in the last 29 games) as they prepare for the NBA Draft Lottery.
Tobias Harris is just 20-years-old and was the 19th overall pick in the 2011 draft out of Tennessee, so there is some potential that the Magic would probably like to explore here.
He's played 11:35 per game this season, averaging 4.9 points and 2.0 rebounds per game, shooting 46.1% from the field and 88.5% from the free-throw line.
Magic rookie Maurice Harkless may currently have the edge for playing time at small forward, but Harris should see more playing time in Orlando than he did for a Bucks team with playoff aspirations.
Harris makes $1.524-million this season on his entry-level deal and $1.63-million next season before a 2.511-million team option in 2014-2015, at which point he should have had opportunity to establish what he's going to be as an NBA player.
A second-round pick out of Kentucky last summer, 21-year-old Doron Lamb has played sparingly in his rookie campaign, playing just over five minutes in three appearances since Christmas.
Lamb shot 47.5% on three-pointers in college so that could be his ticket to a role in the NBA, but going 4-for-16 (25.0%) so far doesn't really indicate whether he can do it or not, the sample is just too small.
The good news for the Magic is that Lamb is inexpensive to audition. He makes $650,000 this year on a contract that goes up to almost $789,000 next season before a team option for 915,243 in 2014-2015.
This isn't a grand haul for the Magic, but they don't get tied down to any financial commitments and get a chance to find out if Harris and Lamb can cut it as NBA players; not a bad return for a player that they were highly unlikely to retain as a free agent this summer.
* - salary information from www.hoopshype.com
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.