The LAL’s jewel in the crown… from a wandering rotation prospect to… LeBron “I believe in him”

Redshirt freshman is fitting in with the Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Indiana Pacers 123-109 in Game 1 of the 2023-2024 NBA In-Season Tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Tuesday night.

Anthony Davis bombed from the floor, scoring 41 points and grabbing 20 rebounds. LeBron James 스포츠토토 and Austin Reeves also contributed to the win with 20+ points.

Swingman Cam Reddish was an unsung hero. He was primarily a defender on Tyreese Halliburton, the in-season tournament’s biggest star, who finished with 20 points and 11 assists, but was definitely less impactful than in the previous game against Boston-Milwaukee.

On offense, Reddish’s presence shone through. In the fourth quarter, with the Pacers on the ropes and the lead down to three points, he hit a three-pointer to turn the tide for Indiana. Reddish’s 3-pointer sparked a 13-0 scoring run for the Pacers, which was arguably the game’s defining moment.

LeBron James said after the game, “Cam Reddish’s presence helped us a lot. A lot of people don’t talk about it, but one of the biggest plays of the game was that big 3 that he hit. We didn’t back down after that. I’m just happy to see him play his role with us.”

Coming out of high school, Reddish was a top-five prospect among his peers. He fell short of expectations in college, where he played alongside Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett, and was drafted as high as 10th overall, but that didn’t mean there weren’t high hopes for him.

However, Reddish’s pro career was a disappointment, as his offensive prowess and inefficiency didn’t allow him to establish himself in Atlanta, and he was traded in frustration. In New York, he struggled to even crack the rotation due to defensive issues.

After hitting the free agent market after last season, Redick headed to the Lakers on a two-year minimum contract. A shabby deal for a former first-round draft pick. In just a year and a half, his jersey changed hands three times.

In the midst of his plummeting ratings, Reddish changed. He made an impact early in the season, serving as a key rotation piece while the Lakers struggled with injury issues along the swingman line.

He cemented his place in the lineup, especially in the absence of Jared Vanderbilt, where he often stepped in as a dedicated defender of the opposing ace. Reddish’s remarkable improvement on defense helped the Lakers win 14 of their first 23 regular-season games and become in-season tournament champions.

While Reddish was known for his offense early in his career, he’s transformed into a spider’s hand that can wear down opposing aces. His long wingspan at 6-foot-9 and athleticism help him on defense. Even LeBron, the team’s leader and ace, has a lot of faith in Redick.

“People have written him off,” LeBron said. I’m really happy for him to have this experience and to be able to play. I believe in him,” he said.

Recognizing his potential, the Lakers made a concerted effort to acquire Redick in a trade last year. The deal fell through, but they’ve been happy to keep Reddish around since then. To this day, the Lakers’ signing of Reddish is considered a perfect fit.

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