Atlanta Hawks: Cam Reddish’s game could be better suited to start

The Atlanta Hawks took another tough loss in the preseason, this time to the Cleveland Cavaliers 99-96. It was especially disappointing (as far as preseason games go) because the Cavs were on the second leg of a back-to-back after being boat raced by the Chicago Bulls. Of course, the Hawks were without several key starters themselves.

Trae Young was an obvious choice to miss this game after he bruised his quad in Monday’s loss. He was joined on the sideline by Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danilo Gallinari, and Solomon Hill.

As Nate McMillan stated, this one was all about the young guys.

Atlanta Hawks forward Cam Reddish might need the freedom to take “bad” shots

It was truly the tale of two halves for Cam Reddish, who finished this one with a game-high 20 points, five steals, and hit 4-of-8 threes while snagging three rebounds. At halftime, however, the third-year man out of Duke had just six points, was 2-for-9 from deep, and had missed all three of his attempts from beyond the arc.

McMillan said getting Reddish extra looks was the idea. He didn’t start but did play the second-most minutes on the team and led the Hawks in shot attempts.

After the game, his coach talked about his intentions.

Reddish will be extension eligible next offseason but the more likely scenario is he reaches restricted free agency after next season.

He’s been the object of constant trade rumors for various reasons, none of them being a lack of talent. But management made it fairly clear he was in their plans and solidified it (for the time being) by sitting him out of Summer League action.

At halftime it looked like that might have been a bad idea. Given that he only made four appearances in the playoffs after a four-month layoff, some rust was to be expected. But some of his early struggles, at least in this contest, were due to the same kind of questionable shot selection that’s plagued him his entire career.

It may not be questionable shot selection as much as that’s how he finds his rhythm. They’re basically the same, except the latter just implies a player usually makes more than they miss.

Teammate Kevin Huerter’s thoughts on Reddish fit the latter description.

“When Cam starts making shots, it seems like every one falls after that. He’s had a really good training camp. There are days when he’s doing that, making a bunch of shots… I think everybody knows at this point Cam’s capable of that.”

The thing is that when he isn’t hitting shots he still takes the same quality. That seems to be exacerbated when he’s coming off of the bench as McMillan said he would this season. As a former starter, Reddish often seems to be trying to make all of the plays on one possession knowing he might be back on the Hawks deep bench again soon.

For young players, inconsistency in playing time can lead to inconsistent performances. It’s the Hawks gifted curse and McMillan’s challenge to utilize all of the talent on this roster.

Really, the only consistent minutes go to the starters and one or two bench players.

Reddish might not get the opportunity to be either with Hawks before a decision on his future has to be made. He’s currently behind Kevin Huerter (15 points, 3-of-4 from outside) on the depth chart and rookie Jalen Johnson will soon be pushing for playing time of his own.

His numbers have also been better off of the bench so far as the “inconsistent” label follows him into the season. But when locked in, Reddish brings an athletic two-way skillset with who has flashed takeover ability.

If he wants a more prominent role in Atlanta, however, he will need to be more consistent to get it.

Because performances like the one he gave on Wednesday happening in spurts will make him trade fodder.