Coby White & Cam Reddish: Not Quite NC's Finest
Updated: Jun 20, 2019
6’4.75”, 191-pounds, 6’5” wingspan, unknown max vertical, turned 19 in February, ranked 9th by Hamilton:
Coby White is an interesting player. He’s crazy fast and has herky-jerky movements that throw defenders off balance. He employs those movements with a canny sense of timing. For a 19-year-old to already have some feel and understanding for how to change pace is impressive. Guys with incredible speed like John Wall and White’s fellow tar heels Ty Lawson and Kenny Smith hadn’t yet figured it out when they got to the league. I don’t actually remember Kenny Smith having that problem, but I have heard him talk about it when discussing young PGs.
White, billed as a combo guard, is more of a shoot first player. He graduated from Greenfield School as the all-time leading scorer in North Carolina high school basketball history. That’s something given the players to come out of the Tar Heel state. For the most part he played the point well in his freshman year. It should inspire some confidence that Roy Williams, a coach known for holding down hyped up freshmen in favor of juniors and seniors, gave him the keys to the car. But White is such a difference maker with the ball, he wouldn’t be denied. But with a lot of young dynamic guards, you have to take some bad with the good. He averaged 2.7 turnovers per game (not too terrible) including games of five versus Gonzaga, four against Kentucky, and six against Duke. UNC won that Duke game by 16 points at Cameron. Kentucky beat UNC by 8 in that December matchup but the Tar Heels got the better of Gonzaga by 13 at home just one week earlier. Given these factors, I think he projects far better as shooting guard in the NBA. 6’5 is a little on the tall side for a PG and the herky-jerky movements can get him in trouble at times with the ball. Those turnover numbers against top competition offer some concern about handling the ball and making good decisions against NBA guards and high-level games. On the other hand, when a player puts pressure on defenses with speed in transition and a desire to attack the paint, you’re willing to live with some of that. My concern if I’m envisioning a combo guard if I’m drafting White is whether he can effectively play the point at all at this level.
Consistent shooting was a problem in White’s freshman year at UNC. Despite a decent 35% from three, he had 18 games in which he shot under 30% from deep. He had several games in where he was 45-55% on high volume, including three pairs of consecutive games in which he made between four and seven 3s.
These numbers speak to a player who is susceptible to swings of inconsistency. That’s a ticket to the 2nd unit in the NBA. But he’s a confident kid and confidence works for in the league. He’ll have to show a willingness to be coached, especially on the defensive side. He doesn’t guard much despite his amazing speed and quickness and his defensive stance is very upright. He’s had trouble against smaller, quicker guards like Auburn’s Jared Harper and the NBA is full of quick guards and coaches thirsting to hunt defensive weak spots. The right franchise could turn him into a solid contributor pretty early, but there aren’t too many of those picking in the top 10.
6'8”, 208-pounds, 7'0.5” wingspan, unknown max vertical, turns 20 in September:
One of the more polarizing players in this year’s draft, Cam Reddish, came into his freshman season with all the hype of a future NBA star. At 6-8 with a 7’0.5” wingspan, and a 8'9.5” standing reach, Reddish has the size combined with the fluidity that had many drawing comparisons to Paul George. With these comparisons and measurables, it’s easy to see why he came in as the #3 HS recruit and was projected as a consensus top-5 pick before his freshman season started. And while it’s easy to get caught up in the high school pedigree or a weekend performance at the Hoop Summit, the games actually matter, and Cam’s freshman season at Duke left a lot to be desired.
After a 22-point (6-14 FG), 4-steal performance to start the season against Kentucky, Reddish looked like a perfect compliment alongside ball dominant RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson. And many of the talking heads were already crowning Duke as the GOAT freshman squad, and suggesting that they'd beat the Cavs (we're all laughing at you Jay Williams), but neither Duke or Cam lived up to that hype. And as the season went along, he struggled more and more with his shot and had multiple games in the ACC when his three completely disappeared (1-8 vs GA Tech, 1-7 vs NC State, 1-7 @ Syracuse). These shooting woes were magnified as he became simply a spot up shooter by season’s end. Whether his role was a product of Coach K’s unimaginative your turn (RJ)/my turn (Zion) offensive scheme or simply a product of Cam’s unassertive nature, his confidence was all but gone by the season’s end, even leading to him being benched in the second half of the ACC Tournament game against UNC. And the signs of the #3 recruit were all but gone.
Reddish’s horrific freshman season did have some bright spots as he played a key role in Duke’s 23-point comeback win against Louisville, scoring 16 second half points, including the game-tying three and go ahead FT, while also hitting a game-winning three at Florida State — showing he was capable of hitting big shots in big moments. Displaying a glimpse of what he could do with a larger offensive role, Cam scored a season high 27pts (6-11, 4-12 3FG) against UNC when Zion went down early in the game. He also showed some versatility on the defensive end, guarding multiple positions, while adding 1.6 steals-per-game.
Trying to project what Reddish will be at the next level is no easy task, while he has the pedigree of a top-5 pick, the results on the floor simply didn’t match. Often being ranked highly in your high school class is a good indicator of NBA success, but it’s no guarantee.
#3 ranked HS prospects since 2007, per ESPN
OJ Mayo (3)
Tyreke Evans (4)
Xavier Henry (12)
Kyrie Irving (1)
Austin Rivers (10)
Isaiah Austin (NA)
Julius Randle (7)
Cliff Alexander (undrafted)
Brandon Ingram (2)
Jayson Tatum (3)
DeAndre Ayton (1)
And after looking at this list, what’s even more troubling is that Reddish’s numbers fall more in line with Xavier Henry than with the rest.
Offensively, I don’t think Coach K did him any favors. Duke’s offense lacked movement and any continuity, which could have helped his involvement and production.
But the times when Cam was the primary focus of the offense, it was a disaster as is evident by his 29% turnover rate in isolations and 32% in the pick-and-roll.
His jumper looks effortless but he only shot 33% from deep. On the positive side, it’s a decent percentage considering the volume of threes per game (7.5/per). His threes attempted-per-game landed him inside the top-50 for the NCCA this year, while also being the tallest player among that list. His size/length and volume of threes already make him an attractive player for teams that target this player profile, such as the Rockets and Bucks.
Defensively, he looks capable of guarding multiple positions, but I don’t anticipate him being able to guard another team’s best player. He hasn’t shown the motor or intensity required for that level of defense — falling somewhere in between Trevor Ariza and Andrew Wiggins in that aspect. With his size/length, he could be a solid contributor in a switchable defensive lineup, but just don’t count on him locking anyone down.
Given his performance on the court, 12th feels like an appropriate spot on the big board, although I doubt he’ll still be available by then. If you want to like Cam as a prospect, it’s easy: the length, size, fluidity, smooth shot, flawless individual workouts, it’s all there. While I don’t think he’s as good as his pedigree and #3 HS ranking, I also don’t think he’s as bad as he played last year. But no matter where you fall, there’s always been concerns over his motor and lack of aggression. A slide down the draft board will probably do him some good as he won’t be the focal point of the offense. Alongside Trae Young is a good example where he would be allowed to develop without the weight of the franchise on his shoulders. He’s shown he’s capable of accepting a complimentary role and should be able to be more productive in an offense with a more defined system (Coach K has completely mailed it in).
Ultimately who the fuck knows what Cam is going to be? He has all the physical makings of a Paul George, but easily could be the next in line of players who look better than their actual results on the floor: Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood, etc. Only time will tell.