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Cam Reddish made his anticipated debut with the Portland Trail Blazers in a nine-point loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. He started the contest in the small forward role that his predecessor Josh Hart filled for 51 games, and produced 11 points on 57-40-100 efficiency. Reddish only saw 18 minutes of action, but we ask you Blazers faithful and NBA fans alike: How would you grade Reddish’s first game with Rip City?
Since his debut, he’s played in one other game — Portland’s Feb. 13 matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers in a 12-point win — underwhelming with five points on 25 percent shooting from the field and 20 percent shooting from three-point range, giving Blazers fans a glimmer of hope with two steals.
Reddish’s upside was an alluring quality that prompted management to acquire him. He carved out a successful role as a key contributor on the Atlanta Hawks’ second unit in his first two seasons in the NBA. However, an unprecedented move to the New York Knicks stunted his growth.
The Blazers currently have three players — Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons and Jerami Grant — all averaging over 20 points per game. Reddish has the potential to score a score of points in the NBA. However, there may not be enough basketball to go around for him to thrive offensively in a starting capacity, even though it must be said that he can contribute in more ways outside of the scoring column. Nevertheless, we also ask you: Should Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups keep Reddish in the starting lineup?
The Blazers additionally added Matisse Thybulle and Kevin Knox to the rotation at the deadline. Thybulle provides near-All-NBA caliber defense on the perimeter. Knox is another player, much like Reddish, who was selected in the NBA draft lottery and has not lived up to expectations. This goes without mentioning Nassir Little and Justise Winslow who have existing camaraderie with Portland’s core.
Reddish has not eclipsed 18 minutes in his first two games with Portland. Remaining the starter at small forward while playing reserve minutes serve as two predicaments that counteract one another and work to his detriment, as well as the team’s.
In a perfect world, having Reddish assume the sixth man role with the Blazers could potentially help him reach the levels akin to Tyler Herro, Jordan Poole, Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic — all of whom are wing players in crowded offenses that have their reigns loosed in the second unit to score and make plays with freedom.
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