Los Angeles Lakers forward Cam Reddish has put together a pair of quality performances in their last two wins against the Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers, both wins to help get the Lakers back to .500. The boost correlates with a move to the starting lineup shortly after missing a potential game-winner off of a LeBron James pass against the Miami Heat last week.
In two games as a starter, Reddish has a combined 35 points, 10 rebounds and six steals on 12-for-20 from the field. For the first time in nearly five years, he looks like the player that was drafted in the lottery and the player that multiple teams opted to take a chance on.
Reddish stayed ready for an opportunity to make up for his miss against the Heat, in large part because that’s what James told him to do.
“I was like ‘Damn, my fault Bron!’ And he was like ‘no it’s not. I’m gonna come right back to you so be ready.’ So I just tried to be ready, continued to get my shots up before the game, stuff like that,” Reddish said. “Do what I normally do and don’t change too much up. Just tried to believe and it all worked out.”
The belief from James — as well as the rest of his Lakers teammates — is putting Reddish in an unfamiliar environment for him through his first five campaigns.
“It was definitely big-time coming from Bron. But I don’t think it’s just him, I think all of my teammates have done a great job of just pouring into me and telling me how much they believe in me,” Reddish said. “I haven’t had an atmosphere like this I don’t think in my entire NBA career. So it’s been a lot of fun, it’s been a blessing and I’m just looking forward to the future.”
Reddish believes that expectations being higher is leading to this more supportive and team-first environment, a stark change from his first three teams when he played for them.
“I think we’re trying to win, you know what I mean? We’re trying to actually do something here. It’s not like that everywhere else. How has it helped me? It’s very serious. It’s easy to find or be like ‘eh’ when there’s no goal. But we have a goal, we’re trying to win and get to the championship, things like that, so it’s just different.”
Reddish and the Lakers had been linked for so many years, and his first few weeks with the team make it clear why. The environment seems to be a perfect fit for the fifth-year player, and in return he has helped the team get through an injury-riddled period in relatively good shape.
Reddish playing with confidence
Praise from one of the all-time great players in NBA history has certainly boosted Reddish’s game-to-game confidence. Reddish mentioned James’ confidence and the Lakers faith in him this offseason as part of the reason he’s going to continue to work hard and stay ready when his number is called.
“I was trying to stay ready. LeBron is out there so you have to be ready at all times. I missed one last game so I tried to really lock in on them corner shots. Bron told me he believed in me so I just tried to remember that and shoot my shots with confidence and knocked them down.”
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