Tuesday, November 11, 2008

To be a complete player, you have to play great defense

As he works to change the culture in MIL, coach Scott Skiles is placing a heavy emphasis on defense.

According to this article in Sports Illustrated, "Skiles has already shown that he will not stand for defensive lapses. Early in the second quarter of a 91-87 loss last Saturday at Toronto, Andrew Bogut blew an assignment and was forced to foul Jermaine O'Neal. Skiles immediately banished his center to the bench for the last 10 minutes of the first half."

Coach Skiles has also challenged Michael Redd (pictured here) to defend better, which explains why Redd has lost 15 pounds and cut his body fat by two-thirds.

According to his trainer, Redd is focusing on improving "his strength, flexibility and footwork, which you need to be a strong defender."

Redd, who spent the summer playing with Kobe Bryant as part of Team USA, "marveled at how much intensity the 2008 MVP brought to the defensive end."

Says Redd: "In our practices everybody wanted to stop everybody. But Kobe, man, he never took a possession off."

Redd's top goal for 2008-09? Making the NBA's All-Defensive team.

"At this stage in my career I want to be a complete player. And to do that you have to play great defense."

Bucks opponents are already noticing a difference in MIL's attitude. According to WASH forward Caron Butler:

"Defensively, they've looked great over the last couple of games. I even noticed Michael Redd is really concentrating on being aggressive on defensive end. He's always aggressive on the offensive end but a little reluctant on the defensive end, but now you see him really getting down into his stance and getting after you."