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2019 NBA Mock Draft: Why Duke's Cam Reddish is this year's most devilish prospect

2019 NBA Mock Draft: Why Duke's Cam Reddish is this year's most devilish prospect

Cam Reddish looks the part of a future NBA star.

NBA talent evaluators are trying to understand why the 3-man didn’t play like one at Duke.

Athletically, the kid from Norristown, Pa. has the goods. The small forward measured 6-foot-8, 208 pounds at the NBA Combine with a wingspan just shy of 7-foot-1. He was described by a noted draft analyst during a post-Combine 1-on-0 workout with other prospects as the “most naturally gifted player,” on the court that session.

For a Wizards roster that lacks small forwards after trading Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre during the season and upside talent beyond guards Bradley Beal and John Wall, Reddish is the type of a prospect they should consider with the ninth overall pick.

The weird thing is he might be there despite spending nearly the entire college basketball rated among the top three prospects in the 2019 NBA Draft class along with Duke teammates, Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett.

In a draft limited with standouts at the top, everyone wants to believe Reddish is worthy of a very early selection. Those that watched him regularly at Duke and are trained to focus on traits beyond highlight-reel moments a player with his physical tool can pull off were left wanting.

“He had an unproductive season,” ESPN draft analyst Jonathan Givony told NBC Sports Washington at this month’s Combine. “You can’t sugarcoat what he did.”

Reddish, 19, averaged 13.5 points at Duke. That ranked third behind Williamson and Barrett, who each dropped 22.6 per game. Reddish's other statistics were the issue.

This wasn’t a typical Duke squad loaded with perimeter shooting threats so Reddish’s 33.3 percent on 3-pointers wasn’t particularly jarring. That he shot only 39.4 percent on 2-point attempt “is one of the brightest red flags you’ll find,” Givony said.

Here’s another: Reddish’s performance efficiency rating (PER) of 13.6 didn’t just rank far behind Williamson (40.8) and Barrett (23.3). According to Givony, it’s lower than any college player projected to get drafted this year. Reddish also finished with more turnovers (96) than assists (70).

Yet, “his talent is off the charts,” Givony said.

Among the factors for scouts to examine is whether, as Givony believes, “playing off of Zion and RJ, the situation wasn’t the most functional situation there in terms of a basketball standpoint.”

None of the three were perimeter threats. Barrett attacks defenses off the dribble and Williamson’s interior presence had opponents packing the paint. Perhaps the lack of floor balance hurt Reddish’s shooting despite his solid form, but something was amiss.

“Wasn’t like an ideal set up, maybe. I don’t want to make excuses for [Cam],” Givony continued. “I still am intrigued by his talent level and at a certain point in the draft you just say for the upside you just have to take a swing because you don’t know what it could materialize into to.”

Reddish’s 77 percent clip on free throws offers a better representation of his shooting form than what he did from inside and outside the arc. He still finished fourth among ACC players in made 3-pointers last season. The size, length and athleticism combo offers strong hope defensively.

“I think I’ve improved a lot on my defense. I put an emphasis on that coming in because that was (a concern) some people said about me,” Reddish said in March at the East regionals in Washington.

Other concerns remain.  

Multiple NBA scouts and sources told NBC Sports Washington there are questions over Reddish’s toughness and attitude. He disappeared at times late in games especially over the final month of the season. Duke’s third-leading scorer had eight points in 37 minutes in the East Region final loss to Michigan State, missing his only two 2-point attempts.

Yet in a draft where after Williamson, Murray State’s Ja Morant and Barrett the talent pool “gets average real quick” according to one scout, Reddish’s potential stands out.

He could go off the board fifth to the Cavaliers. The Hawks, owners of the eighth and 10th selections, are thought to be interested.

“A lot of guys had just average college careers and become stars in the NBA,” Givony said. “I think [Reddish is] someone that also has to be in the mix (if available at 9) for sure.”

Considering the several challenges facing the Wizards’ next general manager, including Wall’s uncertain recovery from a ruptured Achilles just as his supermax contract kicks in, Washington needs a hit with this pick.

We’ll see if Reddish is still on the board at 9. The current sense from front office types is Washington fans shouldn’t get their hopes up. Ultimately such potential comes down to whether those casting their roster ahead of the Wizards’ pick think the athletic 3-man is right for the part.

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Bradley Beal snubbed in NBA 2K20 ratings

Bradley Beal snubbed in NBA 2K20 ratings

Bradley Beal has been snubbed yet again.

First All-NBA, now Beal was not even included in the NBA 2K20 top 20 rankings, which were released on a livestream on Monday.

LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard topped the rankings, followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant and James Harden. 

In what we're sure was a completely scientific poll, SLAM Gaming asked its followers if NBA2K got the rankings right. And, at least as of post time, nearly two-thirds of participants said no. 

Ahead of Beal in the rankings included Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell and Jimmy Butler. Zion Williamson was the top rookie in the ratings. 

Beal averaged 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game last season. That's clear above Mitchell (23.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists per game) and Butler (18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists per game).

The ratings are reportedly determined by a statistically based formula, though that hasn't ever stopped fans from expressing their ire at the game's rating gurus. 

Including John Wall in 2017. 

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Wizards Summer League superlatives: Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr. were the stars

Wizards Summer League superlatives: Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr. were the stars

The 2019 Las Vegas Summer League is in the books and this one was much more interesting for the Wizards than they have been in recent years. This year, they had a host of first and second-round picks play for them, as well as some players they recently acquired in their trade with the Lakers.

Here are some superlatives to put a bow on the Wizards' time in Vegas...

Best player: Troy Brown Jr.

Though he only played one game and one quarter before he was shut down with a left knee contusion, Brown was quite clearly the best player on the Wizards' Summer League roster. In his only full game, he put up 18 points and 15 rebounds. Though he only shot 40.6 percent in his brief time in Vegas, he looked like a guy who was advanced beyond the league's level of competition.

For Brown, the question is how much it matters because he essentially did what he should do as a second-year player. It is encouraging and he should draw confidence from the experience. But now he has to show he can produce like that in real NBA games.

Best newcomer: Rui Hachimura

Hachimura only played three of the Wizards' five games and in his first two outings produced uneven results. But his third game was pure dominance, as he posted 25 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals. He proved a quick learner by adjusting and improving game-by-game.

All in all, it was a solid start to Hachimura's career. He displayed versatility and smarts both on offense and defense. It should give Wizards fan hope he can contribute as a rookie.

Most improved: Isaac Bonga

Many of the players on the Wizards' roster were not returning from last summer, but Bonga showed a nice leap year-over-year from what he did for the Lakers in 2018. Though he wasn't one of the Wizards' best players, he ended up with solid numbers of 8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. He shot 45.5 percent from the field in 20.2 minutes of action.

The best thing Bonga showed for the Wizards is his athleticism. He is a full 6-foot-9, yet has the mobility of a guard. He is a long ways away from being NBA-ready, but at 19 years old gives the Wizards an intriguing prospect to stash in the G-League.

Needs improvement: Issuf Sanon, Moe Wagner, Admiral Schofield

It wasn't the best Summer League showing for Sanon, the Wizards' 2018 second-round pick. He only played a total of 48 minutes in four games and shot 18.2 percent with 1.5 points per game. The Wizards were experimenting with his position, playing him both at point and off the ball, and he didn't look comfortable doing either.

Granted, Sanon's biggest strength at this point is his defense, but he doesn't seem to have any NBA-ready offensive skills. Unless he gets up to speed quickly, he will have to become really, really good on defense to make the leap overseas.

Like Bonga, Wagner debuted after coming over in the Lakers trade. But Wagner didn't have the best time in Las Vegas, as he shot just 31 percent from the field and 7.1 percent from three. It was a small sample size of just four games, but Wagner is known as a shooter and didn't look like one in the Summer League. He also had trouble on defense against quicker match-ups.

Schofield, the Wizards' 2019 second-round pick, shot poorly (38.5 FG%, 22.2 3PT%) and struggled to find his role on defense. He has some intriguing qualities, but it might take him some time to figure out how to compete against NBA athletes while lacking height and quickness to play the way he did in college.

Biggest surprise: Jemerrio Jones

Perhaps this should not be surprising because it is what Jones is known for, but his rebounding really stood out. He played only about 27 minutes in three games, yet pulled in 13 boards. That breaks out to 4.3 rebounds in 8.9 minutes per game, or about one rebound every other minute. He averaged 17.4 rebounds per 36 minutes.

Keep in mind he is only 6-foot-5. Based on efficiency, Jones was the Wizards' best rebounder and he is the size of a shooting guard. He has a lot to improve on before he can stick around in the NBA, but it will be fun watching him grab 15-plus boards on the regular this season with the Go-Go. 

Biggest disappointment: Wizards' opponents

If there was one prevailing theme in the 2019 Summer League it was teams holding out their top draft picks either due to actual injuries or the fear they will suffer one. The Wizards saw this firsthand. They even did it themselves by keeping Hachimura out of two of their games.

The Wizards played the Pelicans without first overall pick Zion Williamson or Jaxson Hayes, the eighth pick, or even Nickeil Alexander-Walker, the 17th pick. They played the Hawks without De'Andre Hunter (fourth pick) or Cam Reddish (10th pick). And the Nets and Clippers didn't have any top draft picks of note.

The Wizards did get to see third overall pick R.J. Barrett and the Knicks in their final game. New York also had Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox, as well as Iggy Brazdeikis, who was a Summer League standout. But neither Hachimura or Brown played in that game for Washington.

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