It's been a tale of two seasons for Atlanta Hawks rookie forward Cam Reddish during his rookie year, as the ex-Duke Blue Devil's early struggles were largely left behind thanks to a strong second half to his campaign.
That late-season performance provides more promise for his future, one that Reddish hopes will end with him as one of the game's stars.
"I definitely want to be known as one of the best two-way players," Reddish told Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Reddish, the 10th overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, averaged just 5.8 points on 25.3 percent shooting through his first 11 games. But he improved during the season and posted 14.6 points on 47.0 percent shooting (41.7 percent from three-point range) in his final 21 contests. That included six games of 20 or more points during that span.
He was also active on the defensive end, with 1.1 steals per game and a high of five against the Brooklyn Nets in January.
General manager Travis Schlenk praised Reddish's defensive efforts in April, per Spencer:
"What he allows us to do defensively, just with his length and athleticism and anticipation is going to be really important to us in the future. He's got a chance to be one of the best defensive players in the league. ... His defensive versatility, being able to guard quicker point guards and kind of cover Trae (Young) on that end is going to be extremely important to us moving forward."
As Reddish told Spencer, much of the rookie season battle was simply adjusting to the pros after his lone season at Duke:
"It's pretty hectic, and the adjustment was a little crazy. But that was one of the biggest things I picked up on, how long the season was. I had to really take care of my body, eat the right things, stuff like that. ... My entire life, I could pretty much just get up and go. And just play. But it's a really long season. The games are long, you've got back-to-backs, you're going from Miami to L.A., L.A. to Minnesota, it's craziness. But it's fun, once you get used to it, once you figure out your routine."
But he clearly figured it out, as evidenced by his late-season performance and comments:
"My first couple months, I didn't even have a routine, I was still trying to figure that out. As time went on, I kind of figured it out, what works for me, and as it got toward the middle of the season I kind of figured it out, settled in and got a little more comfortable on and off the floor."
Reddish and the Hawks went 20-47 in an NBA season currently suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the team did decently in its last 27 games, going 12-15.
The future is bright in Atlanta with Reddish, De'Andre Hunter, Trae Young, John Collins and Kevin Huerter potentially forming a dominant core group of five players for a Hawks team looking to make its first-ever NBA Finals since the organization's days in St. Louis.