Wednesday, August 20

Ridnour Relocation

For the entirety of his Seattle Sonic career, Luke Ridnour bore the designation of "bad defense."

Merited or not (and, towards the end, it's safe to say that his poor defensive reputation began to become a bit overdone), ask any Sonic fan which player - Earl Watson or Ridnour - deserved to be the starting point guard, and the answer invariably came back "neither." Instead, we wanted a hybrid of the two: Watson on defense and Frodo on offense.

So, it was with a chuckle that I read this quote from Scott Skiles in the aftermath of Milwaukee's acquisition of Ridnour last week. When asked how the former Sonic will impact the Bucks, Skiles said:

"One way or another, we are going to be a much better defensive team."

Really. I'm not making this up. You can read the whole story here, courtesy Charles Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

It's slightly stunning, to say the least. Acquiring Ridnour for his defense is a bit like buying a Hummer for its gas mileage or marrying Kim Kardashian for her high moral values.

Or, looked at another way, just how bad was Mo Williams on defense that Luke Ridnour is an improvement?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that's not the first time someone has used "Kim Kardashian" and "Hummer" in the same sentence, although your connotation is probably unique.

Nice line, though! Got to wonder what the hell Skiles is smoking, though, if he thinks Luke is going to be an upgrade defensively.

Julian said...

Maybe he thought they got Kirk Hinrich.

Manco said...

I understand you were never a Luke fan. That's fine. But shouldn't we all be happy for the guy to get out of OKC and have another shot at being a starter? He might not be great, but during Nate's last year Luke started every game of a 50+ win season and helped the Supes win an opening-round play-off series. His coaches since then have all been complete clowns. Suffering SuperSonics fans will need a lot of love next year, and will be looking for anything to root for. If the Bucks "catch fire" (i.e. approach .500) in the East and sneak into the eighth playoff spot, I'm going to enjoy it.

nuss said...

Manco, you're aiming your feelings at the wrong guy. I'm a Duck alum and I was Luke's biggest booster for the first couple of years he was with the team. The way he ran the offense during their playoff run three years ago was a thing of beauty. If this is his chance to make his mark in the NBA, I will line up to give him a standing O.

And as to your argument for that Luke "started every game of a 50+ win season", did you know who also started every game that year? Jerome James. Eric Snow started 50 games for the Cavs the year they played San Antonio in the Finals, does that make him a good player? Of course not.

Hey, best wishes to Luke this year; I hope getting out from Seattle/OKC is what propels him to new heights. He's a good and decent man, never causes any trouble, and always seems to give it his best effort. I don't think anybody would want to see someone like that fail.

Crow said...

According to research at countthebasket.com the defensive part of adjusted +/- does show Ridnour as a slight help on defense last season (less than 1 pt per game if he played the whole game) while Mo Williams was an almost -2. But only half to 2/3rds of these estimates are likely to be reasonably close to true defensive impact.

http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pLWcAQTLnESsTUNsmEjWTOQ

Crow said...

That is, Ridnour estimated a slight help to team defense compared to league as whole. And yes that is a surprise but with margin of error he could really be a modest amount above or below average on defense. The numbers are produced in a unique context even with all the advanced statistical adjustments performance on one team can't be perfectly calibrated against performance in other team contexts. But following Mo Williams last season would be that tough on defense.

nuss said...

I remember studying these numbers the past two years, and was also surprised to see that Luke's defensive numbers were actually better than Watson's. Perception isn't always reality, I guess.

Still, to look at Ridnour as somone that is going to revitalize your defense is a bit misplaced, in my opinion. Can he kickstart an offense? Absolutely. But if Skiles really believes that Luke Ridnour is going to be some sort of lock-down defender that the rest of the Bucks will take their cue from, well, he's misguided.

Anonymous said...

the guy looked like a young steave nash before he had a few injuries and every one stopped believing in him, skiles is just showing a little belieif in his new starting PG plus the fact is his abillitly to run an offence and be a pass first point gaurd is really why they got him just 3 players left to get out of OKC Jeff KD and Nikky

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