Would Cameron Reddish make sense for the Los Angeles Lakers? Perhaps no non-playoff team has been as newsworthy as the Lakers in the past couple of months. A whirlwind finish to the season included former team president and Laker legend Magic Johnson stepping down from his position as well as purging Luke Walton and his coaching staff.
Los Angeles’ front office is still in flux, and the head coaching search took a number of turns before the Lakers eventually hired former Pacers and Magic head coach Frank Vogel.
An article by ESPN Senior Writer Baxter Holmes chronicled how chaotic and disparaging things have become within the organization, calling into question the methods of Johnson, general manager Rob Pelinka, and team owner Jeanie Buss.
However, the Lakers did leap up multiple spots in the NBA Draft Lottery to acquire rights to the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Assuming they keep their pick, the Lakers should take a hard look at selecting Cameron Reddish.
The former Duke standout is one of the most polarizing prospects in this draft class, but he might be an ideal fit.
Here are three reasons the Lakers should consider drafting Reddish with the fourth pick:
1. They need more shooting
Magic Johnson thought he could build a team around size, athleticism and veteran leadership, bringing in guys like Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and JaVale McGee last summer. But every team LeBron James has played with has needed shooters to space the floor. Think Mike Miller and Ray Allen in Miami, or Kevin Love and Kyle Korver in Cleveland.
The Lakers finished 29th out of 30 teams in 3-point field goal percentage while also ranking 20th in threes made per game. Consequently, they won just 37 games despite being loaded with young talent and having LeBron James.
Cameron Reddish may have shot just over 33 percent beyond the arc at Duke, but he has the purest form of any player in the draft, and he can score off the dribble or in catch-and-shoot scenarios.
For all of their talent, the Blue Devils had notoriously poor spacing all year, which probably had a negative effect on Reddish’s game.
Reddish has proven that he can be a shot creator and make plays on the perimeter, and he would likely benefit from playing with one of the highest basketball IQ minds and passers (James) who has ever stepped foot on the hardwood.
2. Brandon Ingram’s condition
Brandon Ingram cannot seem to catch a good break in the NBA. The 21-year-old once again showed flashes of brilliance in his third season in the league, but was hampered by nagging injuries early on, which would turn into a serious medical scare toward the end of the season.
Ingram needed to undergo thoracic outlet decompression surgery in March in order to repair a structural problem in his veins that caused a blood clot. Although Ingram is expected to make a full recovery, there is no telling how he will respond to the injury. Considering that his career continues to be interrupted by various ailments, can the Lakers rely on him to be a franchise piece?
Cameron Reddish would be the perfect player to fill Ingram’s shoes. He, too, can be a secondary ball-handler. He has tremendous athleticism and playmaking ability, and can play the two or the three. Reddish has shown far greater defensive footwork and overall potential than Ingram ever did at Duke.
Even if Ingram is healthy, drafting Reddish would give the Lakers the potential to run both bigger and smaller lineups, especially depending on whether the Lakers deal Lonzo Ball.
3. Highest upside?
Outside of Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett, Reddish very well may have the highest upside of any player in this draft class.
Reddish averaged over two steals per 40 minutes at Duke and has already proven to be an extremely capable defender given his quickness and length. The Lakers need all the defensive playmakers they can get, especially with James beginning to slow down.
Additionally, his competence in pick-and-roll and his athletic ability project well in the NBA. Reddish should continue to adjust to the speed of the game, and he would have Ingram and Kyle Kuzma to look to for guidance.
Should they keep their pick, the Lakers can gamble on a player who could immediately fill multiple holes on the roster while also having All-Star potential. In that case, Reddish is the best selection at the No. 4 spot.