Schlenk Adds Multidimensional Player In Cam Reddish
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Story by KL Chouinard
Even on the day of the 2019 NBA Draft, general manager Travis Schlenk stuck with his daily routine. He left his desk and his office and went for a walk in the middle of day.
"It started pouring," Schlenk said. "And when I came back, it cleansed off all the dirt from me, I guess. So things worked out and we got lucky and Cam was there for us."
Over the course of a little more than two years, Schlenk has clarified the Hawks' roster in a manner comparable to what the rain did to him. When he was introduced as the team's General Manager and Head of Basketball Operations in May 2017, Schlenk said that the Hawks were in a better position than most rebuilding teams. He specifically cited the number of drafts picks that Atlanta held over the next three drafts.
Fast forward and three drafts later, Schlenk has a young core of John Collins, Trae Young, Kevin Huerter – and Cam Reddish.
The Hawks chose Reddish Thursday with the #10 pick. A 6-foot-8 forward from Duke, Reddish was one of the most highly coveted freshmen in the draft, after a season in which he averaged 13.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals for the Blue Devils. The 19-year-old earned All-ACC honorable mention honors in his sole collegiate season, and he scored in double figures on 23 occasions, including eight 20-point games.
Coming into the draft, Reddish had an inkling that the Hawks might be the team to pick him.
"I had a small idea, but draft night is crazy," said via phone call from New York. "You never know what can happen, but I'm extremely blessed to be in this position and I'm excited to get to the ATL."
At Duke, Reddish used his 218 lbs. and 7-foot-1 wingspan to demonstrate that he can play at small forward at the NBA level, but more importantly, he showed that he might be able to thrive no matter what his role is or what player he faces off against.
"We want to play a fast, up-and-down game and we want to space the floor," Schlenk said. "We want to have multiple guys out on the floor who can make plays. We were looking to add multidimensional players: guys that can play multiple positions and players with great length and guys that can play some defense on the wing."
Schlenk clearly thinks that Reddish can wear a lot of hats. Defender. Passer. Shooter. Playmaker.
"(Cam) was a guy we identified early in the process, all the way back to when he was in high school. What we like about Cam is obvious, right? The length, the skillset. He can dribble, pass and shoot. He is a good defensive player. He played on the ball a lot in high school."
And while Reddish can make plays on the ball, he won't be counted on to carry the majority of that burden. That job still lies with Trae Young. Reddish said he was ready to team up the soon-to-be second-year point guard.
"(Trae) is a phenomenal player with a tremendous work ethic so I'm just looking forward to getting in the gym with him and learning from him," Reddish said.
Like Young, Reddish was a top-10 pick, adding to a Hawks roster than suddenly seems deep with young talent. But Schlenk thinks Reddish could have gone even higher than he did.
"We had him ranked higher than (#10) on our board, but we felt like we might be able to get him there. We rolled the dice and we won today. It's better to be lucky than good sometimes."
Of course, if the Hawks indeed fell into prosperity in the 2019 Draft, then they'll soon end up being both: lucky and good.