Cam Reddish: Role

cam-reddish-graphic.png

Strengths

  • Shoots an easy ball. Smooth three-point stroke.

  • Solid size for NBA wing. 7’1” wingspan allows him to disrupt passing lanes.

  • Decent off-the-bounce game. Capable handler and shot creator.

Weaknesses

  • Limited athleticism could hamper his creation equity. Not going to blow by anyone. Lacks finishing pop.

  • Unreliable decision maker off of drives.

  • Up-and-down engagement when defending off-ball. Not an anticipatory defender.

  • Tends to disappear from action mid-game. Could be mostly due to playing alongside ball-dominant teammates, but still something to note.

Offensive role at Duke

Cam Reddish is mostly deployed on the perimeter off-ball. Duke has two possession eaters in Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett but neither has the same gravity as Reddish from behind the arc. Tre Jones attempts only 2.1 three-point shot per game and converts at a 27 percent clip, and Duke often pairs Zion with a non-shooting big in either Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier, making Reddish the de facto floor spacer in the starting and closing fives. Most of his opportunities to attack arise from transition or semi-transition opportunities where he is attacking an unset or warped defense. He does a decent job sweeping the ball in those instances, but he doesn’t get into the teeth of the defense to draw contact, settling for mid-range jumpers instead. He also receives more touches when his shots start falling. I believe this is a combination of his teammates trying to get him going and him looking for his shot more when he sees a few go through the hoop.

Offensive role projection -

Off-ball threat

Reddish is a safe bet to shoot the ball at the next level which will give him an opportunity to be an effective floor spacer, provided his shot makes the transition to the extended line. His ability to shoot off movement and, in some situations, attack closeouts will determine the degree to which he can provide value early in his career. While he is comfortable putting the ball on the floor and shooting from mid-range off the dribble, he struggles to finish where his limited burst comes into play: inside. He can be stopped short and has trouble finishing through traffic for easy layups, making him settle for mid range jumpers against inferior on-ball defenders too often. His decision making off of drives could also hamper his effectiveness in this role; he develops tunnel vision with a head of steam and has trouble sensing the help defender. Opponents have used this against him and taken easy charges at various points throughout the season.

His shooting off movement has looked okay in spurts, but he hasn’t had too many opportunities to shoot off complex weak-side actions in Duke’s free-flowing offense where he is mostly deployed as a stationary threat. He isn’t polished when shooting off movement, as evidenced by some off-balance shots that end up going hard off the back iron. But there is hope to believe he could show more in this area if given more of an opportunity to develop this skill and, more importantly, time to train his body and polish his footwork. He has flashed some solid moves off the dribble while operating in isolation, but the idea of turning him into a second unit ball handler right out of the gate might prove overwhelming. Because of his athletic limitations and lack of advanced decision making, his ability to create off the bounce is more of an end-of-shot-clock strategy rather than a prominent feature of his offense.

Defensive role at Duke

Reddish is often deployed on secondary or tertiary creators while Tre Jones, when healthy, has defended the point of attack. RJ Barrett is usually tasked with guarding the best wing scorer while Reddish spends most of his time defending off-ball. He has a knack for deflecting errant passes, though sometimes he gambles and can get out of position. Other times he is slow to react to the action around him and does not make the potential impact play. He has shown good engagement and disruption when tasked with defending on the ball, something he did more during Jones’ injury absence.The Blue Devils have proven to be a potent defensive unit, though Reddish’s contributions have been hit or miss.

Defensive role projection -

Point-of-attack, switchable

Reddish does not figure to be a wing stopper at small forward, his natural position. He doesn’t have the requisite strength and lateral quickness to stay in front of the Paul Georges and Kawhi Leonards of the league. This could create problems for teams who want to feature him as a wing defender, especially those who lack other options to throw on elite perimeter scorers. He will be able to harry most big wings because of his 6’8” frame and 7’1” wingspan, but Reddish might be over matched against players with explosive first steps. Learning to keep his feet and hips in alignment and slide to stay in front of penetration will help, but he doesn’t have the explosiveness to truly become a bulldog on the perimeter. He showed the ability to be able to guard up a position while playing with Team USA, but he’s since seen few opportunities to showcase the skill playing alongside Duke’s cadre of big men. He will need to add lower body strength to allow him to stand firm against the NBA bigs if he has any hope of resurrecting this skill.

If Reddish becomes a plus defender, his main defensive attribute will be his ability to create off-ball havoc. He has shown flashes so far, but Reddish does not produce at a level consistent with true positive NBA wing defenders. He has great length to get a hand on passes and has shown some good a-to-c anticipation when the ball rotates, allowing him to be in position to disrupt ball reversals and skip passes. Learning to pick his spots and to create advantages without revealing significant gaps behind his gambles will be instrumental in cementing this as a potent part of his defensive package.

Why Reddish will earn minutes as a rookie

Reddish can space the floor and will not completely derail the strength of a team’s defense. That alone will earn him minutes on most teams, as these traits in tandem are highly sought after. Early on, he will be reliant on his ability to make spot up three pointers to stay on the floor and will need to begin to evolve his game toward a reliable off-movement shooter, something which will require dedication to strength and conditioning. He will also make a few nice reads when attacking warped defenses, an advantage which can be further exaggerated if he finds himself on a team whose number one option has gravity of their own. Most rookies don’t make a positive defensive impact (nor are they expected to), so he will need to spend the early part of his rookie deal learning how to take part in a good defensive scheme. He will be able to create some turnovers and convert them into points and will be able to disrupt some transition opportunities as the first man back. Working on his hip switches and his anticipation on closeouts, as well as his discipline when facing shot fakes, will be critical to his defensive improvement.

Why Reddish’s minutes may be limited as a rookie

Reddish still has a few growing pains to endure in on-ball offense and off-ball defense. If he is put in positions where his inexperience rears its ugly head in the form of unforced turnovers or being the target of opposing offenses, he could spend more time on the bench. One of the great draws of Reddish, his ball handling ability, may also be one of the great traps in his game. Installing him as the primary initiator, even for short stretches against bench units, will likely lead to a stagnant offense lacking in complex scoring opportunities because of his passivity in attacking the rim and his lack of high level creation for others. If he is plopped into a defensive scheme which demands advanced reads from off-ball wings, he may also falter. For example, if he is asked to continually rotate weak side to tag roll men or x-out to shooters, he may be overwhelmed and leave big, threatening gaps. In a more switch-heavy scheme, his current defensive flaws can be masked, but he will need to work on his quickness to be able to effectively switch down a position or his strength to switch up.