Cam Reddish
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Cam Reddish has looked solid at Duke, but his skill set doesn’t translate well to the New York Knicks’ overall needs.

Josh Benjamin

Duke Blue Devils star freshman Cam Reddish isn’t on the same level as teammate Zion Williamson, but still has plenty of talent. The five-star talent from the Philadelphia area has done his fair share of head-turning this season, averaging 13.3 points and 1.9 steals per game.

Sure enough, Reddish’s name has popped up a lot as a potential lottery pick in this summer’s NBA Draft. Given the New York Knicks’ all-but-certain status as a lottery team this year, general manager Scott Perry will surely be interested in Reddish’s future potential.

Unfortunately, that future potential shouldn’t happen in New York. Don’t get me wrong. Reddish can ball for sure, but the kind of player he is just isn’t what the Knicks need now or in the future.

Nothing against the talented young man but if the Knicks draft him in June, they would be making a terrible mistake.

Pros

Cam Reddish has thrived in Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski’s system, ranking third in scoring behind Williamson and fellow five-star talent RJ Barrett. Though Reddish is primarily a three-and-D type player, he has proven he can join the scoring party with the best of them and also put the team on his back.

Take the footage above, for example. This is from Duke’s 80-78 win over Florida State on Jan. 12. Reddish scored 23 points and sunk five three-pointers in the win, including the game-winner as time wound down in the second half. Reddish also added three rebounds and assists each, plus a steal.

Now, on their surface, those numbers really aren’t that special. Sure, Reddish scored a bunch of points and was deadly from long range, but so what? It’s ACC basketball. Talented wings there have such games the way Austin Powers has swingin’, shagadelic, shindigs. Such things happen quite frequently.

But there’s a catch. Duke’s game against the Seminoles was more than just Reddish’s strong performance and game-winning shot. The real story of this game, besides that, was Zion Williamson leaving the game with an eye injury and playing just 17 minutes.

Reddish wound up missing Duke’s most recent game against Syracuse with the flu, but the Florida State game shows us two things. First, Duke can win without the dangerous dynamo that is Williamson. To some of the Cameron Crazies, this is equivalent to the Toon Squad beating the Monstars without Michael Jordan.

But the more significant takeaway is this. Despite not being Duke’s alpha dog on offense, Reddish can take control of a game if need be.

However, despite those positive traits, Reddish should not be on the Knicks’ radar.

Cons

Keep in mind, saying the Knicks shouldn’t draft Cam Reddish is not at all indicative of his skills. There is a team out there for him. It just isn’t the one who plays at Madison Square Garden.

Let’s look outside the bare bones numbers. Sure, Reddish is a great shooter and has made 35.8 percent of his attempts from long range. The problem is he has made just 38.2 percent of his total shots from the field. Granted, much of this can be traced to a five-game cold streak where he shot just 22 percent from the field and 16 percent from long range. Rough stretches happen in basketball, and this one shouldn’t be held against Reddish.

Except, the numbers go a little deeper than that. Per ESPN, Reddish attempts 11.3 shots per game, 7.1 of which are from beyond the arc. Sure, the three-pointer is king in the NBA right now, but versatility is still important. Reddish is young and will evolve accordingly as a pro, but the bare numbers right now are a small concern.

Moreover, the Knicks are completely packed on the wing right now. Rookie Kevin Knox has been doing great work and will only become greater. Damyean Dotson and Allonzo Trier’s efforts also shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Not only that but what about impending free agent Kevin Durant? Sure, he can play all around the court, but he is primarily a scoring point forward. That means if the Knicks draft Reddish, he’ll be stuck behind Knox and, potentially Durant.

Call me crazy, but that sounds like a one-way ticket to Bustville.

Final Thoughts

When push comes to shove, Cam Reddish will probably be just fine on whichever team drafts him. It may take him a year or two to really get going, but nothing suggests he’ll be a bust in the same vein of Darko Milicic or fellow Blue Devil Shelden Williams. He’s got size at 6-foot-8, 218 pounds and great length with a seven-foot wingspan. Think of him as another former Duke freshman, Justise Winslow, only without a strong rebounding game.

And the Knicks already have that player in Knox. Sure, the prospect of adding Reddish’s electrifying abilities is tempting, but at what cost? Perry already said he planned on rebuilding through the draft and free agency. How can he recruit Durant to New York if the wing is clogged more than the 4 Train at rush hour? Not only that, but what about Knox’s continuing development?

Cam Reddish is a special player who will find a home in the NBA and, knock on wood, have a successful career. It just shouldn’t be with the Knicks.

 

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