Knicks’ Cam Reddish relegated to bench as New York looks to fine-tune lineups

Head coach Tom Thibodeau (top left) benched Knicks' Cam Reddish (bottom left) amid declining production from the forward.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau (top left) benched Knicks’ Cam Reddish (bottom left) amid declining production from the forward.
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The Knicks had high hopes for small forward Cam Reddish coming into the season, but he’s spent most of his time on the bench in recent games as his production has fallen. 

New York traded for Reddish in the middle of last season from the Atlanta Hawks, in exchange for Kevin Knox and a future first round pick. 

His time at Madison Square Garden last year was cut short after appearing in just 15 games, as he suffered a shoulder injury in March that kept him out for the remainder of the season. 

But heading into this year, Reddish was ostensibly going to be a major part of the team’s rotation. 

That looked to be the case early on, as he averaged 23.2 minutes per contest through the first 15 games of the season, and played an integral role within the Knicks’ offense. 

But he quickly found himself drowned out in the deeper-than-expected New York roster, and head coach Tom Thibodeau limited his usage. 

He suffered a groin injury after the 16th game of the season, and missed the subsequent three contests, but returned at the end of November. 

In the five games since he’s recovered from that injury, he’s seen a declining amount of time on the floor — going from 24 minutes, 17 minutes, 14 minutes, 9 minutes and culminating in a game against Cleveland where he was a healthy scratch for the team. 

The Knicks won the game against the Cavaliers, but Thibodeau’s decision to simply not play Reddish turned many heads among the New York faithful. 

Thibodeau claimed that he simply wanted a nine-man rotation, and that Reddish didn’t fit. 

But it may go deeper than that.

Thibodeau was not a fan of the original trade that brought reddish to MSG, according to reports, and it appears that he hasn’t been able to change his coach’s mind. 

On the season, Reddish has averaged 21.9 minutes, 8.4 points, 1 assist and 1.6 rebounds

He’s never carved out a role for himself, especially as the team has looked to involve other players with similar skill sets in the rotation — particularly RJ Barrett (33.4 MPG), Quentin Grimes (21.1 MPG) and Immanuel Quickley (22.8 MPG). 

According to advanced statistics this season, Reddish is 11th-best on the team in Offensive Plus-Minus (-2.2) and 10th-best on the team in Defensive Plus-Minus (-0.3). Those stats depend on a player’s effect on a game when they’re on the court. 

While his production hasn’t been solid, it’s also fair to argue that he hasn’t been given enough opportunities to play in order to carve out his role. 

But many expect he could be on the trading block. 

The Knicks did not give Reddish a contract in the offseason, and he will be a restricted free agent next offseason. 

If the Knicks continue not to use him, they may look to maximize his value with a potential swap, either to pick up more players of future assets in the form of draft capital.

For more coverage of Cam Reddish and the Knicks, head to amNY.com.

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