Similar to what happened with Zion Williamson, I had too much to say about Duke’s Cam Reddish, who may or may not have been my favorite and No.1 prospect coming into this college basketball season. Expect one more separate column before Thursday’s full mock draft goes up.
No.9, Chicago Bulls: Cam Reddish, Duke
No matter how you view Cam Reddish, he’s a fit for the Bulls at No.9 overall in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Reddish was my favorite player in this class going into the college basketball season. The guy was 6’8, shot the ball incredibly well and played point guard in high school. What was there not to like?
Despite a weird, confusing and at times bad season at Duke, there still may not be much to not like.
Reddish wasn’t phased out of the system at Duke because he was a bad player. It’s because Zion was a generational talent and because Barrett couldn’t make an impact without being phased in.
Reddish got the short end of the stick.
But at times, Reddish showed his potential. He hit deep threes and showed off an almost flawless shooting stroke. He got to the rim with tantalizing moves and handles; showing off some of that point guard/ball-handling skill. He played his role on both ends of the court and didn’t complain.
It was certainly an adjustment for Reddish, and it hurt him most of the time. It took him forever to get going in games; he’d be inactive for whole halves at a time, acting as a complete non-factor offensively. He’d struggle to get in a rhythm with hitting shots, hence his low field goal and three point percentages. That’d then translate to the defensive side of the ball, where laziness would set in.
Duke had to force the ball into Reddish’s hands. It was an “Okay, your turn!” game with Reddish on the court. That’s how good Zion was.
Reddish didn’t display the selfishness like teammate Tre Jones did (Jones’ takeovers were not effective though). Reddish hardly tried to do things himself and get himself some possessions. He didn’t try to get involved.
Reddish was like the outsider in your group of friends who could secretly be a genius.
That might be a little bit too high of praise for Reddish. The timidness reminds me of Jayson Tatum this past season; Tatum’s someone who we had (and still have) high expectations for, but has yet to hit them due to situation and drive issues.
Reddish’s ceiling might be higher, especially if the Bulls let him takeover a bit. Chicago’s outlook at point guard is bleak. Kris Dunn has completely flopped at the position despite being an impactful defender; he’s practically unplayable offensively. They don’t really have anyone else; Ryan Archidianco is a backup at best. The Bulls putting Reddish in the spotlight of the offense might unlock him a bit and allow him to showcase everything he has to offer: Passing, scoring, shooting. His isolating scoring and how well he projects as a dominant scorer is questionable because dribbling proved to be a struggle at Duke, but that could again be tied back to the low usage and minimal attempts he was given to do those things. If you do something less, the worse you’re going to be at it. Still, Reddish’s feel and projected efficiency makes him a possible diamond in the rough of this class.
If turning things over to Reddish doesn’t work out, then using him in a role similar to the one he was in at Duke could be another option. The Bulls need more wings, and Reddish has shown potential to be effective in that role despite the inconsistency. Despite ball-hog Zach Lavine running the show in Chicago, a system with more ball movement and more touches for everyone involved gets Reddish more involved. The biggest difference between the NBA and college is, no matter how inefficient the system, is the efficiency. The most inefficient team in the NBA is more efficient than the most efficient team in college. That can only help Reddish.