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Should the Houston Rockets be Interested in Cam Reddish?

N.B. Lindberg
Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers
Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages
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Marques Bolden, Zion Williamson, Javin DeLaurier, Cam Reddish, RJ Barrett, Houston Rockets
North Dakota State v Duke / Lance King/GettyImages

Houston Rockets: Why have the Atlanta Hawks made Cam Reddish available?

It’s very likely that Cam Reddish never envisioned himself getting traded while still on his rookie contract. According to Basketball-Reference’s Recruiting Service Index, Reddish was the second-ranked recruit in the 2018 class and third in each of the four recruiting services they aggregate. 

Reddish, considering his recruiting rank, had a poor freshman season at Duke. He only averaged 13.5 points per game on 35.6% shooting from the field. Reddish likely saw himself as a potential top-five pick heading into college but saw himself relegated to the third option behind Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. Reddish's prospect sheen still saw him selected with the tenth pick in the 2019 NBA draft.

Reddish, in two and a half seasons in Atlanta, has done little to justify his tenth overall selection. Comparing him to his 2019 draft peers shows a player who has produced like a second-round pick.

Reddish has produced the 33rd most Win Shares, the 40th best Win Shares per 48 minutes, the 39th best box plus/minus, and the 54th most value over a replacement player. The only statistic he ranks in the top ten in for his draft class is his free throw percentage. 

The mitigating factor for Reddish has been his age and injuries. He turned 20 right before his rookie season and then only played in 26 games in his sophomore season. As a rookie, he understandably struggled, and as a sophomore, he was injured and found himself on a surprise contender that had infused multiple veterans into the roster. 

The other factor to consider is the salary cap. The Hawks gave Trae Young a max contract, have John Collins signed for $25 million, Clint Capela at around $20 million, Bogdan Bogdanovic is set to earn $18 million, and Kevin Huerter is making around $15 million. All told, the Hawks have five players set to earn approximately $110 million combined over the next two seasons. 

De’Andre Hunter and Reddish, both selected in the 2019 draft, are extension eligible this offseason and the Hawks may believe they can only keep one. Hunter, selected with the 4th pick, has been marginally better than Reddish but has also missed significant time the past two seasons with injury. 

Are the Hawks making Reddish available because they don’t believe in the player? Or are they trying to get ahead of a cap crunch and the luxury tax? Chances are it’s a little bit of both. It’s not that the Hawks don’t believe in Reddish, it’s that they don’t think he’s worth going into the luxury tax and hurting their flexibility for. 

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