The Hawks took a risk in waiting to select Cam Reddish.
General manager Travis Schlenk said he had a good idea the Duke forward would be available with the No. 10 pick in last week’s NBA draft. He called it a calculated risk. Still there were a couple of “hold your breath moments” before the Hawks could select Reddish in the first round.
The Hawks introduced Reddish on Monday at the team’s practice facility. The Hawks must wait until several other trades are official in July before they can introduce two other selections — De’Andre Hunter at No. 4 and Bruno Fernando at No. 34.
» Photos: Hawks introduce Cam Reddish
The Hawks entered the draft with three selections in both the first and second rounds (Nos. 8, 10, 17, 35, 41 and 44). After trading the two late second-round picks, the Hawks made the bold move of agreeing to send, among other things, the No. 8, 17 and 35 picks to the Pelicans for the No. 4 pick. That will net Hunter.
It also left some doubt for the Hawks. What would the Pelicans do with the No. 8 pick they acquired? They could have used it to select Reddish or trade it to another team who would have done so. The Pelicans used it on Texas’ Jaxson Hayes. Breathe out.
Then, the Suns agreed to trade the No. 6 pick to the Timberwolves for the No. 11 pick. The Timberwolves will get Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver and the Suns will get North Carolina’s Cameron Johnson. Breathe out.
Once the Pelicans took Hayes, the Hawks had a good idea the Wizards would pass on Reddish at No. 9. Only then, did the plan came together.
“A lot of ways it’s a home run for us,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said Monday. “…. He is a guy we talked about at the beginning of the year as a potential asset to add to the roster and to get him at 10 is a steal in a lot of ways.”
Schlenk said the Hawks have had their eye on Reddish since he was about 16 years old. They watched in play for USA Basketball, on the AAU circuit and for Duke last season. He visited the Hawks the week before the draft, unable to workout due to a core muscle (groin) surgery.
“It’s pretty obvious what attract us to him,” Schlenk said. “What I’ve talked about in the past, guys who are multi-dimensional, multi-positional. Cam’s ability to handle the ball. Cam’s ability to create for other players and shoot the basketball on the offensive end. But also, I don’t think he got the credit he deserved defensively this year. Cam is a very good defensive player, great anticipation, his uses his length. Just all around basketball skill.”
Once the Hawks selected Reddish, the full-court press didn’t stop. Reddish and his family arrived Sunday night in Atlanta from Philadelphia. They were greeted by welcome signs at the airport (on the escalators and at baggage claim), and others on buildings and billboards around State Farm Arena courtesy of the Hawks marketing department.
It was noticed.
“The city has shown a bunch of love and I’m appreciative of it,” Reddish said. “I felt like this was the place I wanted to me and a place I can grow.”
For Reddish, he must first get healthy. It’s been almost three weeks since the surgery that requires more healing time. He also played at Duke with a broken rib that limited him on the court. Averages of 13.5 points and 3.7 rebounds at Duke may seem disappointing to some and lead others to believe the Hawks have taken a gamble on Reddish.
“First and foremost, getting healthy,” Reddish said of his goals. “That is my main priority right now. Becoming a starter is one of step I want to take. And then Rookie of the Year is my ultimate goal. I feel like with my work ethic and with God, anything is possible.”
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