With De’Andre Hunter unavailable for the rest of the season and Bogdan Bogdanović hampered with a knee injury, the Hawks will be hard-pressed to defend the Bucks’ length in the Eastern Conference Finals. The size of Milwaukee at nearly every position is evident… Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, and Giannis Antetokounmpo are all incredibly long scorers and playmakers. Defending a deep and long Bucks team will require a team-wide effort, but could Cam Reddish return to the lineup to help match Milwaukee’s length on the wing?
Travis Schlenk said about a week ago that Reddish was cleared by Atlanta’s medical staff, which came a week after Schlenk told the media that Reddish was “extremely close to being able to suit up.” Clearly, Reddish’s injury has subsided, and he’s healthy enough to participate in 5-on-5 and pre-game shoot-around.
The second-year wing out of Duke hasn’t played since February 21st, which is a substantial absence in terms of being in game shape. We should all temper our expectations that he could make a serious impact in the playoffs right now. Without Hunter, though, and with Bogi being limited, Reddish could squeak out some minutes if Nate McMillan feels comfortable because his length and athleticism on the defensive end is a much better alternative than Solomon Hill and even Tony Snell. After all, Hill is essentially non-existent on offense, which Chase Irle noted.
Reddish is also an exponential upgrade over Solomon Hill offensively. I know his shooting percentages were gaudy in the 26 games he played this season, but he’s not a guy opponents can just sag off and let shoot. We saw what he could do offensively at the end of his rookie campaign when he averaged 14.3 points on 45.8% from the field and 41.9% from behind the arc over his last 20 games.
If you had asked me a couple of days ago, my money would be on Reddish not making his playoff debut against the Bucks, even if his services are needed. He’s been sidelined for so long that it would take much more than seven games to get his feet underneath him and find a rhythm with the team. However, after the news we received earlier today that Reddish’s status has been updated to questionable, I’m starting to believe he will at least see the floor at some point.
I still recommend that Hawks fans temper their expectations, but Reddish is talented enough to make an impact, especially on the defensive end.