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ATLANTA — Holding up his white, Atlanta Hawks, No. 22 jersey, Cam Reddish officially became welcomed into the organization. His mom, dad and brother watched as he stood next to Lloyd Pierce and Travis Schlenk.
Just a few days before this introduction, he had seen himself on a building after landing in Atlanta. This was how everything was supposed to go. Reddish had been on the radar of Schlenk and the Hawks for several years.
“I think probably the first time I would’ve saw him would have been at the Nike Skills Camp out in Vegas,” Schlenk said during the press conference. “He would have been 16 or 15 years old.”
There was a feeling throughout the whole process that the stars would align for Reddish to be their guy. The Hawks were in need of a scoring wing, he shares the same agent as Trae Young and he seems to be a player that will fit right in with this group.
However, most would not have guessed that he would have fallen into their laps with the 10th overall pick. No, there were an endless amount of possibilities that could have taken place for him to be drafted higher. In fact, the Hawks were confident, but not certain that he would be there.
“We made kind of a calculated risk that he would be there at 10,” Schlenk said. “Trades can happen. Then all of a sudden, Minnesota jumps up to six. That makes your heart flutter a little bit.”
One way or another the 6-foot-8 small forward who averaged 13.5 points per game for Duke found his way to Atlanta. This was also a place that he is ecstatic to be. The interest appears totally mutual.
“The city of Atlanta is so beautiful,” Reddish said at the press conference. “I feel that it’s a perfect fit in a way.”
He’s also familiar with part of the young core on the team. He played with Kevin Huerter on Team USA, as previously mentioned he shares the same agent as Young and Omari Spellman played at Villanova close to where Reddish is from.
In college, he had to share the court with top-3 draft picks Zion Williamson (No. 1)and R.J. Barrett (No. 3). They formed one of the best trios the game of college basketball has ever seen, but it’s also hard to standout when playing with guys like that in college. Games are shorter and the offenses do not score 100-plus points.
Duke averaged less than 83 points per game last season, while the Hawks averaged more than 113. There is good reason to believe Reddish will be better positioned to shine in the NBA. He’ll also get to play with one of the game’s rising stars. As a rookie, Young was second in the entire NBA in assists. Reddish is excited to play next to him.
“He’s a phenomenal, phenomenal player,” Reddish said. “Obviously, passing is one of his biggest assets. I’m definitely looking forward to playing with him, learning from him, learning about his experiences here in Atlanta.”
Reddish is a little more than two weeks removed from surgery on a core muscle and while he wanted to play in NBA Summer League, he most likely won’t. However, he fully expects to be 100-percent ready for his rookie season in the NBA.
Playing with a great point guard like Young will hopefully change the narrative of those who have questioned Reddish for different things during the course of his young career, but so far he has not let the outside noise affect him. In fact, he doesn’t really care what those people have to say about him.
”People are going to talk,” Reddish said. “Let ’em talk.”