Cam Reddish thinks you have him all wrong.
As he faces reporters at the NBA Draft combine, the line of questioning directed at Reddish is unusually probing. Reddish is asked to respond to questions over how much he loves basketball. He is asked if he felt he was overshadowed at Duke by playing alongside Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett. He’s asked if his laid back personality is a cause for concern.
“I can do it all,” Reddish says in a voice that is soft-spoken but defiant. “I feel like I’m capable of doing everything on both sides of the floor. I’m excited for the opportunity to do that.”
A year ago, Reddish was ranked ahead of Williamson by most recruiting services and was considered by some to have the highest long-term upside of anyone in Duke’s prized incoming freshmen class. After one rocky season in Durham, Reddish is fighting to save his reputation as much as his draft stock.
Reddish looks like the prototypical NBA prospect from the moment he walks into the gym. He measured at 6’8 with a nearly 7’1 wingspan at the combine, ideal size for a wing who can defend multiple positions and still create his own offense. Add in a smooth shooting stroke, the ability to pull-up off the dribble, and point guard experience from his high school days, and Reddish offers an intoxicating package of new-age potential that feels like a seamless match for today’s NBA.
So why didn’t Reddish’s obvious talent translate into production at Duke? That’s the question NBA scouts are asking themselves after a freshman year full of statistical red flags. Reddish’s effective field goal percentage of 46 percent is the lowest for any projected first rounder. He badly struggled to score inside the arc, shooting an abysmal 39 percent on two-pointers. His turnover rate was twice as high as his assist rate.
It all goes in to making Reddish the NBA Draft’s biggest enigma, a player who looks the part of a top-five pick but with little hard evidence to back it up. It makes him a landmine in a draft that is starved for star potential after Williamson. Pass on him for a less talented player and look like a fool if he plays up to his ability. Take him and look like a sucker if he never overcomes the same deficiencies that made him so inefficient in college.