EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Do Suns want to gamble on growth from Duke wing Cam Reddish?

Jun 4, 2019, 4:52 PM | Updated: 9:11 pm

Cam Reddish #2 of the Duke Blue Devils dribbles down court against the North Carolina Tar Heels dur...

Cam Reddish #2 of the Duke Blue Devils dribbles down court against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game in the semifinals of the 2019 Men's ACC Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 15, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Taking into consideration everything we’ve heard from the Phoenix Suns about what they want in the 2019 NBA Draft and their past experiences this decade, it sure seems like a safe bet to cross off Duke freshman wing Cam Reddish as a potential pick with Phoenix’s No. 6 selection.

The Suns have tried and failed with raw, unproven prospects in the top-10 with Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss and Alex Len. And with the upward direction the Suns are inevitably going to start trending after 40 combined wins the past two seasons, it’s difficult to envision them finding the time to develop Reddish, on top of the wing logjam they’d be adding to by choosing him.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s now go over why we have to at least bring up Reddish in our pre-draft outlook for the Suns’ spot.

Reddish is a 6-foot-8 wing with a seven-foot wingspan who can get you buckets like this.

Make passes like this.

Has a release that looks like this.

And play defense like this.

Please allow those four videos to sum up that Reddish, at his size, skill and athleticism profile, could ultimately wind up being a legitimate scoring ball-handler and high-volume 3-point shooter combination offensively who can defend the perimeter well. You do not need both of your hands to count how many of those guys there are in the NBA.

This is why I was dead-set on having Reddish as a top three prospect in this draft back in October and why The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks essentially shrugged his shoulders at all the flaws back in December because of that upside.

But, boy, has Reddish made it hard to have any confidence in his outlook.

He shot 35.6 percent from the FIELD for the Blue Devils, had 96 turnovers to 70 assists and always produced a few plays a night that made you shake your head.

He was a mess in transition all year, where his inability to read the floor and react is painfully obvious.

Slow down, Cam!

Reddish shot a woeful 51.2% at the rim, per CBB Today’s Ben Pfeifer, tied for the third-worst number among draft prospects his size or shorter. That is an alarming red flag for touch and instincts. Jaylen Nowell for example, a 6-foot-3 guard at Washington, shot 71.7% as a finisher.

Whether or not you knew about Reddish before you started reading, you’re surely getting some Josh Jackson vibes here, right?

And that’s precisely why it doesn’t make sense for Phoenix to take Reddish, who is covered with red flags when you dive in enough on both his film and statistics.

Even in a draft class like this where there is no clear-cut option or cut-off when the Suns will be up, a gamble on Reddish defies just about everything the Suns are looking to add to their roster in a rookie.

At least, right now. Shooting and defensive versatility is what every team needs, and there are outcomes where Reddish brings that with an overflowing amount of value.

There was also an outcome where Bender and Chriss were the frontcourt of the future and it doesn’t seem like the Suns are prone to falling into that trap again.

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