• Matt Esposito

The Best Landing Spots and Pro Comparisons for Cam Reddish

Duke Basketball Report

When evaluating the physical attributes and playing style of Cam Reddish it may seem like there is a natural NBA comparison for the future lottery pick. After all, the league is full of lanky wings who can knock down triples or create some offense off of the dribble. So why is it hard to find the perfect comparison for Reddish?

Let’s start by assessing some strengths and areas for improvement. Reddish projects to be a good 3-point shooter at the next level, especially on catch and shoot chances. He is also fluid enough to create off of the dribble with an emerging set of shot-creating moves. Defensively, if he puts on weight Reddish could even switch 1-4 in a pinch.

Where does Reddish struggle? His pick and roll playmaking game needs repetition despite having shown flashes of creating for himself off screens. He is not terribly explosive and lacks a quick first step. This often results in Reddish struggling to finish around NBA length despite being 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan. Let’s dig in on these measurements for a moment.

Physically, Reddish has similar attributes to Paul George but comparing him to the Oklahoma City Thunder MVP candidate is a stretch. Reddish struggles around the rim, drifts in and out of defensive intensity and is not nearly as polished of an isolation scorer as George. If anything, Reddish is the discount version of the All-NBA swingman.

I flirted with the idea of comparing him to Otto Porter Jr. Their measurements and athletic ability are comparable and Reddish also has underrated switchability as a defender. But Porter’s development as a 3-point shooter took years dating back to his first year at Georgetown. Reddish was a noticeably more natural and advanced scorer as a freshman, which sets him on a different career trajectory than Porter.

The post-trade Bulls version of Porter was much more than the 3 & D player he was in Washington, as his statistics below indicate. His game appears to be more multifaceted than once thought.

Porter demonstrated some untapped shot-creation potential and Chicago would run him as the pick and roll ball handler multiple times per game. I need a larger sample size before I am comfortable with this comparison, but there may be something here if Porter continues his transformation. Despite some recent similarities in playing style, Porter’s ceiling is still too low to fully justify a Reddish comparison.

Next, I looked to the Indiana Pacer’s Bojan Bogdanovic. Bogdanovic is constantly run through pin downs and other off-ball action due to his shooting ability. Also, his playmaking has stepped up since Victor Oladipo went down. Both of these players will display craftiness around the rim as well.

But Reddish has a higher ceiling than Bogdanovic. In fact, we probably just watched the Pacer’s best season as a pro. Plus, Reddish has a higher defensive ceiling and the theoretical potential to spend significant time as a secondary playmaker.

Finally, I landed on Khris Middleton. The Milwaukee Bucks All-Star has worked hard to become a three-level scorer in the League. He can beat you from deep, the midrange or the post. If Reddish follows this blueprint, he too could become an All-Star.

The Bucks utilize Middleton exactly how I think Reddish will eventually be used in the NBA. On some sets Middleton provides spacing by hanging around the perimeter. He can also create offense for himself or others. Coach Budenholzer loves running stagger screens for Middleton which give him the option of pulling up for a triple or taking his man off the dribble. Reddish can thrive in similar sets.

These two also share some areas of concern. Although he has some fluidity in him, Reddish is not an explosive athlete. Neither is Middleton. He has struggled around the rim but adapted crafty finishes to accommodate. Reddish had to do this at Duke and must get better at it in the NBA.

There are also concerns that Reddish will never be the alpha dog on a team as he faded into the background during some Duke games. That may limit his ceiling. Middleton is not the lead dog on his squad but is still an incredibly valuable Robin to the Greek Freak’s Batman.

Middleton is not the perfect comparison for Reddish, but it is pretty close. If both of Reddish’s offensive and defensive games pan out they should look similar to Middleton’s. Regardless, whichever team snags Reddish is going to a guy who can immediately be the focal point of many NBA sets; something that distinctly separates him from the Milwaukee Bucks star. So, which teams would be a good match for the future lottery pick?

Several of the teams who are drafting in the reasonable range in which Reddish will be selected have plenty of wings. There are still a few solid landing spots for him, however.

The Bulls need wing depth and have the aforementioned Porter for only two more years. Chicago can give Reddish minutes in small lineups with the starters or let him evolve as a playmaker and scorer in the second unit. For a developing player, this low-stress, rebuilding situation is what Reddish should be looking for.

The News Orleans Pelicans also need wings. The looming departure of Anthony Davis should send the team into rebuilding mode. This should allow Reddish the ability to make mistakes and learn from them; a liberty he did not have at Duke.

The Memphis Grizzlies could also use an upgrade on the wing. If Reddish desires to become a secondary creator, learning from facilitator Mike Conley could help. Memphis has a solid track record with player development, making this a promising situation for both Reddish and the Grizzlies.

I also like Atlanta for Reddish. If they spend one of their potential two lottery picks on him it would allow them to move on from Taurean Prince, who the Hawks have shopped in the past. With Kent Bazemore entering into his final contract year Atlanta may need a wing. Reddish and Kevin Huerter overlap in some skills but not to the point of redundancy.

Wherever Reddish lands his coaching staff must allocate his talents appropriately. Let Reddish flourish early on by doing the things he is already talented at and allow him to gradually build up his pick and roll repertoire. Regardless, monitoring his stock as draft day approaches will be an intriguing storyline.

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