Cam Reddish Is One Team Short Of Journeyman Status | Was He Mishandled By Two Dysfunctional Franchises?

Cam Reddish Has been mishandled by Hawks and Knicks
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Cam Reddish is back at the center of trade rumors in the NBA after the New York Knicks have reportedly been shopping around for suitors. The Knicks initially asked for two second-round picks but have dialed it back to just one second round pick in return for Reddish.

Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau hasn’t been a fan of Reddish since he was first traded from the Atlanta Hawks last January. The Mavericks, Bucks, and Lakers are among the top teams that are interested in trading for Reddish. The NBA’s trade deadline is Feb. 9.

Reddish has had high expectations since he emerged on the scene as a talented scorer on the high school level. Anthony Edwards, top overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, told reporters that Reddish was the hardest player he ever had to guard on the high school level.

The 6-foot-8 wing player is a native of Norristown, Pennsylvania, and was a five-star recruit in high school that held offers from Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA, Villanova, and other top college basketball programs.

He joined a talented Duke recruiting class in 2018 that featured Zion Williamson and R.J Barrett. While at Duke, Reddish flew under the radar playing in the shadows of Barrett and Williamson. NBA scouts did notice his size, skill, and athleticism. He drew comparisons to NBA All-Star Paul George, and the Hawks took him with the 10th pick in the 2019 NBA draft.

Reddish joined a talented guard and wing group. The Hawks a took Virginia forward De’Andre Hunter in that same draft with the eighth pick, signed Bogdan Bogdanovic via free agency, and the previous year they had drafted Kevin Huerter in 2018 NBA draft.

Reddish battled injuries and jostled for playing time during his two-and0half-year tenure in Atlanta. He showed flashes to score at an high level and defend four different positions when he was healthy but failed to show consistency.

He averaged all career highs in his last season with the Hawks. Reddish averaged 11.9 points per game, shot 40 percent from the field, shot 38 percent from the three-point line, and shot 90 percent from the free throw line.

Knicks struggles

Reddish expressed to the Hawks front office that he wanted an increased role and more playing time. The Hawks were reluctant to let the young talent go, but the two agreed to part ways.

The Knicks were the only team that could possibly give Reddish an increased role with their young roster and give the Hawks a first-round pick in return that they would later use in another trade.

Reddish had a fresh start but faced another obstacle. His new head coach wasn’t a huge fan of him. Thibodeau has been known to ride younger players hard and leans more toward playing older players with experience.

He always seems to wear out his welcome after a few years with teams and is seemingly headed down that same path with the Knicks like at his previous two head coaching stops with the Bulls (2010-15) and Timberwolves (2016-19).

Reddish went from averaging 26.3 minutes per game with the Hawks to averaging 18.1 minutes per game with the Knicks. Reddish has appeared in only 20 games this season and has started eight. He has only nine games that he played 20 or more minutes in this season.

He last played in the Dec. 3 game against the Mavericks and only logged nine minutes. Obi Toppin and Jericho Sims also have seen a reduction in minutes this season. Toppin was the eighth overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft but has a hard time finding consistent minutes in the rotation as Julius Randle’s backup.

Imannuel Quickley has spent time buried on the end of the bench in favor of veteran guards Derrick Rose and Evan Fournier.

Is Cam Reddish a bust?

Reddish teammate and veteran guard Jalen Brunson believes he still is a very talented player that deserves an opportunity. Brunson has experience in this situation. He had to fight hard to prove his worth early on in his NBA career before the Knicks signed him to a four-year, $104 million deal this past offseason.

“Cam is a very talented player. He’s really special to watch. Dating back to when I saw him in high school. He’s grown, he’s worked on his game, he’s gotten better every single year. He’s taking advantage of the opportunity,” said Brunson to Knicks reporters in November.

NBA fans and players still believe Reddish can be that elite scorer that they saw in high school and at times during his college days, but he just needs a legit opportunity with a coach that believes in him.