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Draft Profile: Where Will De'Andre Hunter Land In The 2019 Draft?

The Hawks hold the rights to the #8, #10, #35, #41 and #44 picks in the upcoming June 20 NBA Draft. At Hawks.com, we'll be talking to some of the writers and bloggers who watched some of this year's key prospects most closely. 

Today we speak to Caroline Darney (@cwdarney), Managing Editor, NCAA Team Brands at SB Nation, and contributor to Streaking the Lawnabout sophomore guard De'Andre Hunter.

 

What does De’Andre Hunter do well?

De'Andre is an extremely versatile player. He's an outstanding shooter from all over the court (55% from inside the arc, 68.6% at the rim, and 43.8% from three), and is extremely efficient offensively. Part of that was the design of Virginia's offense -- which finished as the No. 2 most efficient offense in last season's NCAA title campaign -- and part of that is the way Dre plays the game. Hunter fit well in Virginia's system as a patient player that knew when to take advantage of opportunities to push the ball. Defensively, the 2018-19 ACC Defensive Player of the Year can guard the 1-4 positions. His 7'2" wingspan makes him a nightmare to go against, and when paired with good positioning and the ability to get blocks, he's tough on that end of the court. The Virginia defense isn't built to create gaudy steal or block numbers, but Hunter is rarely out of position and is a strong rebounder (on both ends). 

 

How does his game translate to the NBA?

Hunter's biggest strengths are his shooting and his defense. No matter what team you are, you can always use a player that is good in those two categories. He's the most NBA ready player Virginia has had under Tony Bennett (Malcolm Brogdon was a second round pick and current Hawk Justin Anderson was the 21st pick in the 2015 draft). He is a savvy player that has the types of skills that should make him an asset in the league for years to come. 

 

What can he do to improve?

The two biggest weaknesses in his game are probably ball handling and getting his outside shot off a little faster. At Virginia, he wasn't a primary ball handler that brought the ball down the court. He's fully capable of breaking a player down with a one or two dribble move and finishing with a pull-up, but his handle is one of the weaker parts of his game. As mentioned above, Hunter is a great shooter, but his wind up at times left him susceptible to blocks or closeouts. 

What style of play suits his game best?

He's such a dynamic player that he can fit a variety of styles. He doesn't turn the ball over, doesn't need a ton of touches to excel, and is super efficient. His off-ball movement fits in well with an offense that has a strong passer that can find him space in the corners/at the rim, but he can also space the floor as a threat to connect with the deep ball. The game will be faster at the pro level, but Hunter should be able to easily adapt to a more run-and-gun speed when needed. 

 To which current or past NBA player would you compare him?

I think you can see similarities to OG Anunoby and Luol Deng. He's a better shooter, but is strong defensively and brings versatility to the offense. His last season at Virginia, Dre got a lot of praise for his potential being similar to a Kawhi Leonard type player...which is a pretty good goal.