One of the most compelling players in this year's NBA Draft is Duke's Cam Reddish, whose unique situation playing alongside studs Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett pushed the talented scorer to play more of a support role. After being a ball-dominant offensive threat throughout his high school career, the change to floor-spacing shooter was one that probably didn't showcase the full extent of his skillset.
Before the past college basketball season, the debate over who would be the first pick in the 2019 draft was between Williamson and Barrett, but if you rewind back even further, the debate was actually between Reddish and Barrett. Williamson hadn't yet exploded and at the time Reddish was considered a first overall pick talent. While Williamson, Barrett, Ja Morant and others may have passed Reddish in popular perception, the superstar upside is still there and his quiet year at Duke may lead to a team later in the lottery getting a steal.
With Williamson and Barrett getting a lot of the touches when he was on the floor, it will be largely up to individual workouts for Reddish to fully show the spectrum of what he can do. At 6'7" with a 7'1" wingspan, his frame is exactly what scouts long for and his versatility could lead him to just about any position on the floor.
Shooting has always been the first topic of conversation around Reddish's game and when you see his stroke you can understand why.
His release is lightning-quick and he shoots an easy ball no matter the distance. He looks just as comfortable shooting from 28-feet as he does from 21-feet, and that range will really help at the next level - it makes him a prototypical player in the modern NBA and scarcity of players in that position should make him even more coveted.
With shooting at the center of most basketball discussions, I can see why Reddish would get a lot of attention for his stroke, but to me his most intriguing skill might be his ball handling and the things he can do when he attacks the lane. Considering Williamson and Barrett had the rock for most of the time, finding possessions where Reddish was the initiator was a bit like mining for gold, but trust me, he had his moments and when he did he was extremely effective.
Reddish's long strides are excellent for attacking closeouts. One step and he can be by his man. And considering his threat as a shooter, defenders will often close out too hard, giving up the drive. In straight isolation settings he's got enough shake to his game to shift a defender and get a driving lane, and the constant threat of a pull-up jump shot makes him a tough cover.
Operating in pick and roll is another favorite of Reddish's. He loves to sit behind the screen and shoot a jumper before his defender can get to him. The threat of the pull-up jump shot will sometimes force the screen defender to show towards Reddish and if they do so he has the length and vision to make a proper read and scramble the defense. A jump shot is the expected outcome when a screen comes for Reddish, but he can also use them for the room to ramp up to full speed with the basketball. With his size and length, that can be lethal.
Defensively Reddish has outstanding potential due to his length and fluid athleticism, and already we've seen some good things from him on that side of the floor. He knows how to use his length to deter drives and passing angles. For that reason, he doesn't often get attacked off the bounce. In Duke's aggressive defensive scheme he was able to get a lot of steals, which also gave him the chance to run out in transition and exhibit his athleticism in the open floor.
Despite his frame not being filled out quite yet, he's a lot stronger than you'd think and it gives him the ability to battle bigger players down low, which may give him the chance to play some power forward in the NBA.
Consistency was severely lacking for Reddish this season and there were often times you'd forget he was even on the floor for Duke. It would be easy to just point to the fact the he was outshined by Williamson and Barrett as the reason for his inconsistent effort, but this has been the knock on him throughout high school, AAU and international play as well. His focus and motor are a bit of a question mark and that might terrify some general managers as markers for a potential bust.
For someone labeled as a shooter, Reddish has never actually been efficient in that area. He shot 33% from behind the arc this season on lots of volume (7.4 attempts per game) and while he did have a tendency to put up some bad shots that number is still fairly concerning. Another number I find troublesome is the fact he only shot 20.6% when closely guarded. Most jump shot attempts in the NBA are closely guarded and historically a good way to see whether or not a college shooter will transition well to the NBA is to look at his closely guarded shooting numbers in college. Obviously, this number doesn't look good at all for Reddish.
It's not just from the outside that Reddish struggled to score efficiently, as he left a lot of easy points at the rim by missing layups. You'd think someone with Reddish's length and athleticism would convert easily at the tin, but he always seemed to lack the touch inside to finish well. You look at the fact he was a below-average finisher at the rim and a below-average shooter in college, and you wonder if he's really going to be able to score in the NBA.
Projected NBA Draft Range: 7-14
Projected NBA Role: Secondary ball handler on the wing
NBA Comparison: Rodney Hood
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