Now that he’s officially signed with the Lakers, I wanted to get some thoughts on his time with the Portland Trail Blazers — where Reddish spent the post-trade-deadline portion of last season before not even being tendered the qualifying offer — from someone who pays closer attention to the Blazers than just about anyone, our site manager at Blazer’s Edge, Dave Deckard.
Below is our Q and A.
What should Lakers fans expect to see from Cam Reddish? What are his strengths and weaknesses at this stage of his career?
Deckard: Chaos? It’s not a matter of his strengths and weaknesses, but which of them you’re going to get. Playing Cam Reddish is like closing your eyes and drawing from a random selection of Mountain Dews. It might be tasty. It might be pure pomegranate ass. You just have to swallow hard and take your chances on any given play.
Cam’s athleticism is unquestioned. When it works, his first step is devastating, and he’s not a bad finisher. He even showed signs of confidence in his three-point shot in Portland. Whether that’s merited or not depends on the day, but he didn’t hesitate to take open looks.
Staying connected to plays, and sometimes even to the ball, can be an issue. He’s just not trustworthy. The “D” part of his “3 and D” reputation is lowercase, at best. And we’ve already talked about the threes.
Reddish is a project, an interesting experiment for the Lakers to mess around with. I’m not sure why they want a work-in-progress, semi-disappointing, occasional firecracker who can’t shoot from deep consistently. Then again, looking at the rest of the roster, maybe they have a type?
Were you surprised he was let go by the Blazers? Was that mostly just that they didn’t want to give him a qualifying offer when the minimum was his market, or was he just not good for them?
Deckard: He was good enough for Portland, but Reddish’s high draft position in 2019 (10th overall) created a correspondingly high rookie-scale contract and qualifying offer. The entire NBA is doing the Cha Cha Slide nowadays. “One hop this time. Two hops this time. Now duck that tax!”
To keep financial flexibility (and fiscal sanity) intact, the Blazers had to choose between Reddish and Matisse Thybulle. That’s like choosing between the teacher’s pet and the guy who sits in the back of the class, looking out the window and shooting spitballs at squirrels. They’d have preferred to keep both because of potential and...forwards! But they matched Thybulle instead of gambling on the much more mercurial Reddish.
Is there anything else you think people should know about him, on or off the court?
Deckard: We didn’t get much exposure to him here off the court. On the court, he was delightful and horrifying, which averaged out to “OK”. The Lakers got a bench forward who might develop promise into higher potential. The tools are certainly there — the athleticism alone, if nothing else. Maybe the fourth time’s a charm?
Many thanks to Dave for his unparalleled Blazers insight. You can follow his work at Blazers Edge on Twitter at @blazersedge.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.