Hawks

Hawks: Be patient with Cam Reddish

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When the Hawks drafted Cam Reddish 10th overall, there were two distinct opinions. One side, that included his peers, believed Reddish had the type of game that would thrive in the NBA and eventually lead to him becoming one of the top rookies in his draft class. The other side couldn’t believe a freshman shot 35.6% from the field in college and went in the top ten. So far, the latter is laughing out loud at the Hawks for their decision.

With Kevin Huerter nursing an injury to start the season, Reddish began the year as a starter and was just recently relieved to the bench. Part of that had to do with Huerter returning to full health, but a lot of it also had to do with Redish’s play, which has left much to be desired.

Defensively, the former Blue Devil has come as advertised – a long athletic wing that can defend positions 1-4 on the basketball court. But offensively, he’s been even more of a mess than he was in college. Reddish is shooting an abysmal 25.0% from the field and 19.4% from three-point range, averaging only 5.5 points per contest, which results in an almost unheard of 2.5 PER. It’s been horrid – there’s no reason to beat around the bush – but this should not change your opinion on his potential.

After all, it’s only been ten games. Is it much of a surprise that a 19-year-old rookie, who was drafted so high because of his ceiling, not what he did in college, is hitting a speed bump in his first couple of weeks in the NBA? It also doesn’t help that Reddish was forced to miss most of the offseason while recovering from an injury, either. Shooting slumps should be expected – not every rookie can be Trae Young – and even he experienced these kinds of growing pains in his first few months in the league.

Through 25 games last year, Young averaged 15.7 points on 37.7% shooting and 23.9% shooting from behind the arc. Everyone was calling him a bust, and by the end of the year, he was scoring ten more points a game on 45% shooting and 35% from deep. Now, he’s on well on his way to an All-Star berth in his second season.

Even De’Andre Hunter, who I have loved so far in his short time with the Hawks, is not shooting the ball well. His FG% sits at 37.5% for the year, and he’s only shooting 31.6% from behind the arc. Keep in mind, Hunter shot 43.8% from three at Virginia, much higher than Reddish’s 33.3%. He’s also two years older than Reddish. This is the NBA; rookies are supposed to take some time to get acclimated.

If you believed in Reddish coming into the draft, these ten games shouldn’t change your mind. He still possesses all the attributes necessary to make it in this league – a unique combination of length and skill. And he’s shown some positives in areas that don’t show up on the box score. His defense is much better than many anticipated, and his vision is a plus that he didn’t have the opportunity to showcase often at Duke. However, patience is key. This could be a year-long process – maybe even a couple of years – but it’s way too early to doubt his ability after a few rough weeks to begin his career.

 

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