When the Hawks selected Cam Reddish 10th overall, people were pretty evenly split between two sides of the fence. There were the doubters, who mocked Atlanta for taking a player that shot 36% from the field in his freshman year at Duke inside the top 10. And then there were people like me, who were ecstatic the Hawks were able to pick up one of the most talented players in last year’s draft class so late.
As a high-schooler, Reddish was one of the most highly-touted recruits over the last decade, ranking #2 in his class, according to 24/7 Sports, behind only his future teammate R.J. Barrett and three spots ahead of Zion Williamson, who also joined the Blue Devils. The three went on to create perhaps the most talented group of freshmen we’ve seen on the same team since Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, and Co. created their super team at Michigan. Unfortunately, for Reddish, it may not have been the best place for his NBA draft stock.
Despite all the success the trio had, Reddish quickly became the third fiddle of the group, often allowing R.J. Barrett to dominate the ball and Zion Williamson to do his thing in the post. He never was one to beg for shots, which probably affected his rhythm, and as a result, his shooting percentages left much to be desired. However, the smoothness and fluidity in which he carried himself on the basketball court had many scouts believing there was so much untapped potential in the 19-year-old’s game, and the Hawks ended up taking a gamble on him.
One month into his NBA career, the doubters were quick to make their voices heard. Reddish shot an abysmal 28.7% from the field and 21.3% from deep while averaging just 7.1 points per contest in his first 17 games. But while it was ugly, I kept trying to remind people this was always going to be the case. Reddish was coming into a completely new situation than the one he played in at Duke and is also competing against infinitely better competition. It wouldn’t have surprised me if it took him a couple of years to get his feet under him at the next level. Reddish was always going to be a project, but since his shaky first 20 games, he’s developed at an alarming rate and has already turned into a reliable, starting-caliber player.
In each month, Killa Cam has upped his scoring and improved his shooting percentages:
October (5 games): 5.2 points, 20.9% FG, 5.6% 3-PT FG, 27.9% TS
November (12 games): 7.9 points, 32% FG, 27.9% 3-PT FG, 42.8% TS
December (14 games): 9.4 points, 35.9% FG, 31% 3-PT FG, 46.7% TS
January (14 games): 11.9 points, 41.1% FG, 40.3% 3-PT FG, 54.3% TS
February (9 games): 13.4 points, 44.1% FG, 34.9% 3-PT FG, 57.2% TS
March (3 games): 19.7 points, 61.1% FG, 56.3% 3-PT FG, 75.5% TS
Now, his March shooting percentages are not sustainable, but Reddish is well on his way to another fantastic month, averaging 19.7 points on 61.1% shooting and 56.3% from behind the arc in three games off the bench. He’s quickly becoming the Hawks go-to scorer when Trae Young exits for some rest and even a secondary ball-handler when Young’s on the court.
What makes him so unique is his ability to score at all three levels. As his confidence has grown, we’ve started to see that more and more. He has the handle, length, and athleticism to get to the rack and finish around the rim. His mid-range game is so advanced for a player his age, and of course, he can stroke it from behind the arc — whether the shot is contested or not. This kid has superstar written all over him, and he’s barely reaching the tip of the iceberg.
Much like we saw with Trae Young last season — now that Reddish has found his confidence — the sky is the limit. He’ll probably average somewhere between 15-20 points per game the rest of the way with more than respectable shooting percentages, especially for a first-year player with only one year of college ball under his belt. However, next season is when I expect the rest of the NBA world to catch on. He has a little Paul George and Tracy McGrady in him, which are lofty comparisons, but I won’t be backing down from them. Give me all your Cam Reddish stock, please, as he will be a full-time starter for the Hawks next season, and a star in the not-so-distant future.