By The Associated Press
The 19-year-old Reddish joins a promising young core with Atlanta that also includes Trae Young and John Collins after he was selected by the Hawks with the No. 10 pick in the NBA draft. Former Virginia star De’Andre Hunter also is headed to Atlanta once its draft-day trade with New Orleans becomes official next month.
“It’s truly a blessing and a dream come true,” Reddish said Monday at the Hawks’ training facility. “The city of Atlanta is so beautiful. I’m just really happy to be here.
“I think it’s a perfect fit in a way.”
Reddish was one of college basketball’s top prospects heading into last season. But his stock slipped a bit after he averaged 13.5 points on 35.6 percent shooting with the Blue Devils, filling a supporting role behind fellow freshmen stars Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett.
Reddish’s commitment level was called into question during the run-up to last week’s draft. But the 6-foot-7 swingman from Norristown, Pennsylvania, said he has a laid-back personality and was bothered by a minor groin tear during his short stay at Duke.
The injury shelved Reddish for the Blue Devils’ preseason Canada tour last summer. It also kept him out of an NCAA tournament game.
“It was kind of nagging me the entire season,” Reddish said.
Reddish recently had surgery to address the issue. He will miss the NBA’s upcoming summer league while he recovers from the procedure.
Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said he felt Reddish fit what they are trying to do after watching him for years.
“We’ve had the opportunity to see him many times playing for USA Basketball, playing on the AAU circuit and then playing at Duke last year,” Schlenk said. “So, he’s a guy that we’ve seen for several years. We’re looking for guys that are multidimensional, multi-positional.”
Coach Lloyd Pierce envisions Reddish taking pressure off Young as a ballhandler. On the other end of the court, Pierce is looking forward to incorporating Reddish’s 7-1 wingspan into a defense that last season was one of the NBA’s least efficient.
“I think defensively is where you get excited … The more playmakers and facilitators you can put on the floor, the better your team is, and we saw the amount of attention Trae will get,” Pierce said. “We saw it late in the year, and we’ll see it more next year.”
Reddish thinks the Hawks can make the playoffs after finishing with the NBA’s fifth-worst record last season at 29-53.
“I definitely feel like it’s a possibility. It all starts with our chemistry,” Reddish said. “(Young is) a phenomenal, phenomenal player. Just talking to him made me feel really good.”