Deandre Hunter, Virginia
6’7, 225 lb, 7’2 Wingspan
Sophomore Stats: 15.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.0 apg/ 52%%fg 43% 3p
Hunter was a huge upgrade this season for this Virginia program as many questioned if Hunter had any self-confidence at all as he was described as playing nervous and scared during his Freshman Year. His sophomore season he gave us look at his potential and his hard work landed him a National Championship and the #4 projected pick in the draft.
Hunter’s intangibles are a 7’2 wingspan and at 6’7 has the vertical and length to rebound with big men down low. The versatility that Hunter can provide is his best NBA ticket because you can play him at three different positions (Shooting Guard, Small Forward, and Power Forward) which he can comfortably play that role and defend all five positions as he was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He has NBA ready defensive skills and will bother whoever he is guarding in the league with his length. The key to Hunter’s defense is his active hands on the ball as he is so good at disrupting his defender’s dribble and stripping the ball from players. Having great ability to track the ball down and switch on defense to smaller guards or big men down low. You have a guard that is an excellent rebounder on both ends of the floor and can force a lot of turnovers. In terms of shot blocking, he is one of the top shot blockers in the Draft but is by far the best perimeter defender and looks like Tony Allen locking up shooters using his wingspan, strength and constantly moving his hips to cut the defenders path. Not to mention he can fight through multiple screens and very rarely gets caught up with them which adds value with today’s 3 point shooting league.
When you have shooters and you have a system with spacing than Hunter is your gift from heaven because of his ability to play anywhere on the floor. He has a special knack for corner threes and is an extremely efficient shooter. His entire game reminds me of Kawhi Leonard in many aspects but it really shows on the offensive end of the floor. His offensive game is patient and fundamentally sound. You never see him over dribble the ball and has enough handles just to get around his defenders. Using various mixes of hops, spins, and moves to get his scoring. Very impressive to see his footwork off the ball when he’s trying to get attacking position and his ability to catch the ball and attack multiple ways. I enjoy him as a SF/PF combo in the league coming to defend the best player and spread the floor. He is the best mid-range shooter in the draft and the best size up player in the draft as well. His Offensive game and impact speak for themselves as his ortg was 125. He is a great finisher down in the paint for his position and is gifted in the post.
Hunter is NBA ready and his game will translate smoothly to the league but his best destination will be the Atlanta Hawks. The Trio of Young, Collins and Hunter would be a great core to build around for the next 5 years.