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.

Empire of the Suns

The Toronto Raptors and the New York Knicks play during the 2021 NBA Summer League at the Thomas &a...
Kellan Olson

Suns wrap up Summer League play in Las Vegas with loss to Cavaliers

Suns basketball will now be on hiatus. The team's Summer League squad played its finale in Las Vegas, falling to the Cavaliers 88-85.
1 month ago
A Summer league logo is shown on center court during a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the...
Kellan Olson

Suns’ Summer League team starts to gel, wins 2nd game in a row

The Summer Suns' results through two games sure weren't pretty, but for those who stuck around to catch the next two, you've seen progress.
1 month ago
Jalen Smith #10 of the Phoenix Suns grabs a loose ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during the 20...
Kellan Olson

Jalen Smith produces again, Summer Suns get 1st win in Las Vegas

The Phoenix Suns' Summer League team picked up their first win in Las Vegas on Thursday night against the Denver Nuggets.
1 month ago
Phoenix Suns guard Ty-Shon Alexander is fouled by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Josh Hall (15) duri...
Kellan Olson

Ty-Shon Alexander showing midrange potential for Suns at Summer League

Ty-Shon Alexander couldn't possibly have had better people to learn the midrange game from, and he's showing his prowess in Las Vegas.
1 month ago
Jalen Smith #10 of the Phoenix Suns passes the ball up the court against the Los Angeles Lakers dur...
Kellan Olson

Jalen Smith records double-double in Summer League debut, a Suns loss

It wasn't hard to spot the lone first-round pick on the floor between the Suns and Lakers in Summer League play from Vegas on Sunday night.
1 month ago
Nando de Colo #12 of Team France looks to pass the ball asDevin Booker #15 of Team United States de...
Kellan Olson

Devin Booker wins Olympic gold medal, Kevin Durant leads USA over France

Devin Booker achieved one of his ultimate goals this summer, winning an Olympic gold medal with Team USA.
1 month ago
Do Suns want to gamble on growth from Duke wing Cam Reddish?