A primer on Atlanta Hawks rookie De’Andre Hunter’s offensive game next season and how his defense might overshadow his offense next year.
By and large, the Atlanta Hawks made a smart selection at #4 overall by taking De’Andre Hunter out of Virginia in the lottery. Though Hunter is widely regarded as a “safe” pick by General Manager Travis Schlenk, there can be no denying the glaring need the Hawks had for a lockdown perimeter defender – which Hunter surely qualifies as.
However, last year’s Hawks squad was built on tremendous offensive value what with Trae Young, John Collins and Kevin Huerter running roughshod over the league once they got their footing about halfway through the season.
Will Hunter be able to contribute enough on the offensive end to help add even more value beyond his sorely needed defense?
It seems likely that Hunter will begin the season as the Atlanta Hawks starting small forward, which means he’ll need to immediately showcase his ability to knock down open shots – which will almost exclusively be coming off passes from those three cornerstones.
In college at UVA, 47.3 percent of Hunter’s shots were assisted per Bart Torvik, though a whopping 97.8 percent of his three-pointers came via an assist. Hunter notched 15.2 points per game on a 24.1 percent usage rate per Sports Reference in his redshirt sophomore season, so it’s clear he was open to scoring when given the opportunity.
In reality, Hunter’s value – at least early on his career and next season – will be exclusively tied to Hunter’s defensive prowess and his ability to hit open three-pointers, which he should be getting a steady diet of alongside the talented offensive players on the 2019-20 Atlanta Hawks.
As both a switchable defender that’s comfortable hounding 3½ positions on the court, Hunter’s defense will likely define his rookie year – meaning any offensive input he produces for the Hawks will be gravy.