SAN FRANCISCO — In the celebratory locker room Wednesday night time in Denver, as the cheerful Knicks dressed for a flight following their shocking completion of a back-to-back sweep of the Jazz and Nuggets, Cam Reddish allowed himself a second to respect the second.
“Man, it is actually a blessing to be sincere with you,” he stated. “I work my tail off. … It’s been a enjoyable journey up to now.”
Reddish was the forgotten man getting into coaching camp. His acquisition from the Hawks final January in trade for a future first-round decide appeared like a main mistake by group president Leon Rose. Now, that deal is begging to repay. With Quentin Grimes a nonfactor due to a nagging left foot damage and Evan Fournier benched for ineffectiveness, Reddish has emerged — a minimum of for the time being — as the Knicks’ reply at capturing guard.
“He’s so gifted. He can actually rating the ball, however he is displaying he is [a] two-way [player] and he can lock up and defend, whether or not it is guards or wings,” Julius Randle stated. “So so long as he retains doing that his worth is wonderful to us.”
When Grimes was dominated out of the regular-season opener, it was assumed coach Tom Thibodeau would go together with a nine-man rotation, notably since Reddish struggled all through the preseason. Instead, Thibodeau gave the former lottery decide a shot, and Reddish carried out effectively, scoring 22 factors in an additional time loss to the Grizzlies.
But his offensive capability is not what has earned Thibodeau’s belief. Reddish’s shot choice can nonetheless be iffy, though he has improved. Instead, it is his defense that has been eye-opening. He’s defending with extra self-discipline, taking fewer probabilities and transferring his toes extra. Part of that, Reddish stated, is gaining familiarity with the Knicks’ type beneath Thibodeau. After coming to New York final January, he actually did not get a lot observe time and solely performed sparingly.
“I’d say, consolation in the scheme,” the 23-year-old Reddish stated, when requested what has modified for him.
He has the greatest web ranking of any of the Knicks’ starters, at plus-2.8 per 100 possessions, and his fourth-quarter defense was instrumental in the two highway wins. His 7-foot-1 wingspan makes it troublesome to go round or over him, and the 6-7 Reddish can defend a number of positions, providing wanted versatility.
“I believe he is taking a lot of satisfaction in it,” Thibodeau stated.
With a grin, Reddish added: “I do not need my man to rating a lot, easy as that.”
A one-and-done standout at Duke, Reddish was drafted tenth total by the Hawks in 2019. He has at all times been a tantalizing expertise, a gifted wing who has proven transient glimpses of promise, however he has by no means began greater than 34 video games in a season. Early this 12 months, Reddish is showcasing his potential. He is capturing a career-best 45.9 p.c from the discipline, averaging 9.1 factors, and has change into one other weapon in the open court docket in the Knicks’ extra uptempo offense.
“I believe there’s a lot extra in him, too,” Thibodeau stated of the free agent-to-be.
When that go with was relayed to Reddish, he smiled and agreed. He’s not placing up large offensive numbers but. But he is carved out a function for himself with the Knicks by defending and enjoying his function, doing the little issues that had beforehand held him again.
“We all received to make sacrifices. That’s the NBA for you, the greatest in the world,” Reddish stated. “So you bought to make sacrifices if you would like to win. Anyone can go on the market and shoot a bunch of photographs. Not everyone can go on the market and win.”