At first glance, Cam Reddish’s stats in the Lakers In-Season Tournament title game were modest. The Lakers guard had nine points, three rebounds and just one assist in 33 minutes of play.
However, if you were paying attention, you saw Reddish’s impact.
“Regardless of Cam’s points, rebounds, assists, I thought he was one of the best players on the floor tonight with that way that he pressured, kind of deaded their outlets, kind of slowed their pace down,” Austin Reaves said postgame.
Reddish was all over the court for the Lakers in Las Vegas. He was a defensive irritant, fighting over screens to contest shots and making deflections. His stats might not all jump off the page, but only Anthony Davis and LeBron James played more minutes than Reddish. This playing time shows how much head coach Darvin Ham trusts Reddish to make the right play and be the player they need in must-win games.
“Cam is phenomenal...He’s the quintessential 3-and-D guy but he also can handle the ball,” Ham said after the title win. “We use Cam to initiate plays. Cam can switch on basically anybody. He has a knack for getting deflections and steals. Comes up with huge rebounds. He can finish, space the floor. All that said, I just told him ‘Embrace the work. The environment is going to love on you so make sure you submerge yourself into the environment that we’ve created with our program.’ Cam, he’s going to flourish within it.”
While his defense has been a pleasant surprise since he joined the Lakers, make no mistake, Reddish is still a bucket. He only scored nine points, but he hit a big shot in the fourth to keep the Pacers at bay when they made a run. It was one of just two threes the Lakers made all game.
The shot and its impact did not go unnoticed by In-Season Tournament MVP LeBron James.
“Not too many people will talk about it, but one of the biggest shots of tonight’s game was – they made they run, they cut it to three and Cam hits that big-time three in front of our bench to put us up six and we didn’t go back after that,” James said postgame. “Cam’s just been big time for us. I’m happy to see him thrive under this role for us because he deserves it for sure.”
We gave Reddish an A- player grade for his performance in the In-Season Tournament title game. He was a near-perfect player, giving a big performance and helping the Lakers raise another banner at Crypto.Com Arena.
Even the most optimistic fan of Reddish’s game has to be impressed with his play this season. Just last year, he had 33 straight DNPs for the Knicks and now he’s becoming a regular starter and a pivotal player in the rotation.
The revitalization of Reddish’s career in Los Angeles helps everyone.
Reddish will likely have a big payday on the horizon, the Lakers got a great player at a bargain and future free agents will look at Reddish’s outcome and be more likely to play for less in L.A., hoping to replicate his success.
For now, it’s on Reddish to not regress, keep his defensive energy and focus up as the season progresses and other reinforcements like Gabe Vincent return. So far, he’s done everything he asked and exceeded all expectations, so perhaps this new Cam Reddish is here to stay.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.