An untapped talent ready to shine in a new system? Or an enigmatic prospect whose topsy-turvy single college season portends what the future in the NBA may look like for him?
That's what scouts, executives and key decision-makers may be asking themselves when evaluating Cameron Reddish, one of four Duke early draft entries hoping to hear the name called Thursday evening in the 2019 draft.
Reddish has everything you want in a modern day wing: a 6-foot-8 frame, a wingspan just over 7-foot, defensive potential to be switchable up and down the lineup, and a picturesque shooting stroke. He is what the end product would look like if you went into a basketball lab looking to create an NBA wing in 2019.
But Reddish and his uneven season at Duke also brings up some buyer-beware signs. Take, for instance, that he shot just 33.3% from 3-point range last season. In a system seemingly set up for him to succeed as an overqualified floor-spacer (and for a prospect billed as a shooter), he had unusual struggles shooting it at a consistent clip. Add that he had a negative assist/turnover ratio, that he disappeared (figuratively, not literally) during stretches of games, lacked a consistent motor ... you get the point. The red flags are as obvious as his talents.
The good, though -- and more importantly, the upside -- far outweigh the bad.
Before his time at Duke he played a lot on the ball as a creator, as a driver, as a shot maker. A lot of those skills eluded the public eye with RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson and Tre Jones commanding so many touches, but when he had the opportunity, his talent popped on the court. Despite middling results on the stat sheet, he has incredible potential to develop into a crafty finisher with his effortless strides and elite touch around the rim. While Reddish didn't shoulder a huge load on offense, when he had the ball in his hands he showed some brilliant flashes attacking.
As the primary ball-handler in pick-and-roll situations, where Reddish rarely had opportunities (43 possessions, according to Synergy), he rated in the 94th percentile. That's elite considering it is among all Division I players, and includes dribble jumpers, rack attacks and assisting off screens, all of which he did at an efficient clip. That bodes well for what he can be in a different role -- one he'll seemingly be given in the NBA.
Where Reddish struggled last season is where he perhaps has the most potential. He rated in the 28th percentile in shots off screens, 33rd percentile in spot-up situations and 44th percentile off hand offs as a scorer. Again: for a shooter, he really struggled shooting.
Why Reddish's biggest struggles at Duke could turn out to be his biggest strengths are simple: because of the array of ways in which he can score. Moving him to a role tasked with creating more on the ball may do him well to unlock the Reddish of old, but as you can see from the highlights below, he had some nice moments in a smaller role, too. Shooting as the trail man in transition, creating his own shot on the perimeter off isolation, sprinting off screens to get off an open look, he can pour it in a variety of ways that make him stand out among players of a similar archetype.
Reddish is a wing, and not a point guard; any team looking to give him the keys to an offense as a rookie may be looking to be disappointed down the line. But for franchises comfortable in what they have at point guard -- Atlanta and Cleveland among them -- Reddish presents massive boom potential as a secondary initiator and versatile defender worth buying low on inside the top 10.