• Matt Esposito

Cam Reddish is NBA-Ready

Duke Basketball Report

Duke’s 2018-19 freshman class received an immense amount of hype. Scouts thought they could book their tickets to Durham, North Carolina and watch three top-five NBA prospects perform. The ascension of Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett proved these scouts prescient, but Cam Reddish has not yet joined his Blue Devil teammates as a surefire talent.

Reddish never took off this season. He lacked consistency in flashing his NBA-level talent. Questions about the McDonald’s All-American swirled. Major sites such as ESPN and Bleacher Report now have him outside of the top-five prospects while The Ringer only recently moved him up to fifth overall.

After raking over the film, however, there is much to like about the 6-foot-8 wing’s game besides his measurables. Sure, he owns a 7-foot-one wingspan and a frame suitable for adding serious muscle. He glides around the court has decent lateral quickness. But what really has me bullish on Reddish is the glimpses of NBA-ready skills he demonstrated during his freshman campaign.

Let’s examine which of his skills directly translate to the professional game.

Corner 3-pointers

The corners of basketball courts are coveted offensive territory. Not only do they provide for the closest triple attempt, but the shot stretches out opposing defense. So, how did Reddish perform from the corner?

Here, Reddish runs by two Duke screeners as though he intends on catching the ball on the wing. Instead, he loses his defender by darting to the corner where he smoothly drains a triple. This action has become commonplace in the NBA and meshes perfectly with Reddish’s off-ball footwork. Expect more of this from Reddish as he makes the jump to the League.

It is hard to criticize Coach K but perhaps he should have run more of these sets for Reddish. His comfortability and effectiveness in the corner was evident throughout the season. Whether it was during transition opportunities, half court sets or inbound plays, Reddish found himself in one of his favorite spots on the court. In fact, he completed this trifecta during a game against Army this year.

Pin Down Screens

Hopefully, Reddish is currently studying Klay Thompson footage. Given his skill set Reddish will often be sent around pin down screens and for good reason. His execution of these sets it already at an NBA caliber. Consider this simple pin down versus rival North Carolina.

What makes this play so enticing is its lack of complexity. Jones gets the ball to Reddish after Reddish rubs shoulders with his screener. The result is a silky free throw line jumper from Reddish. Imagine if he tosses in a v-cut before he tries to shake his defender. For good measure, watch another example of Reddish burying a pin down jumper against Louisville.

Creating Space

During another rivalry game against the Tar Heels Reddish demonstrated how even a weak jab-step can give him the little space need to launch a trey. This time he did it against a solid defender in Nassir Little. Watch how Little moves backwards just enough to allow Reddish a cleaner spot-up look. He can also use this move to transition into pull-up opportunities.

Once more against North Carolina Reddish combined two jab-steps before taking advantage of a screen to bury a triple. I tend to lean away from the lofty Paul George comparison, but this particular move has PG13 written all over it.

Reddish creates space with hesitation moves too. He can slow down his pace to a near standstill and then blow by defenders with a crossover. Poor Little got victimized by Reddish once more by this approach. Furthermore, he has also shown flashes of using hang dribbles to set up his jumper as a pick and roll ball handler.

Grab and Go

Reddish did not showcase his rebounding ability this year despite averaging 7.6 boards per game in the Nike EYBL circuit. Yet, how many rebounds did we expect Reddish to snag when playing alongside Williamson (8.9 rpg) and Barrett (7.6 rpg)? There is reason to believe Reddish will up his rebounding game in the pros depending on where he lands.

If the moment is right, Reddish can use his speed, handle, and body control to turn a rebound into a quick two. He did so against Louisville with an intimidating one-handed jam. Ask Ben Simmons and Russell Westbrook how valuable of a skill this is to have. Hopefully, Reddish can exhibit more of it during the pre-draft process.

Pull-Up Jumpers

A Cam Reddish profile by Jonathan Tjarks conveyed that the wing’s off-the-dribble shooting numbers ranked in a high percentile. Watching the film on Reddish fully supports Tjarks’ claim.

When combined with his height and high release point, Reddish’s hesitation move allows him to freeze defenders before stopping on a dime for a jumper. The way he changes pace with a hang dribble before taking one quick hammer dribble before this pull-up is a thing of beauty.

He can also perform this move from behind the arc. All it takes is a couple of nonchalant crossovers and a hesitation dribble to get the space required for pull-up triples. While these types of moves are also Paul Georgian, Reddish has a long way to go to make good on that comparison. Which teams would provide a fruitful environment for his development?

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