Atlanta Hawks: Alex Len Calls De’Andre Hunter “Baby Kawhi” Leonard

De'Andre Hunter #12 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
De'Andre Hunter #12 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

A quick look at recent comments from Atlanta Hawks center Alex Len about rookie De’Andre Hunter.

The Atlanta Hawks underwent media day on Monday, September 30, one week ahead of the team’s first preseason game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

While a variety of news tidbits broke during the proceedings, perhaps one of the most quotable phrases was uttered by the team’s likely starting center Alex Len when asked about #4 overall pick De’Andre Hunter.

Chris Kirschner of The Athletic provided Len’s succinct answer:

As you can see, Len calls Hunter “baby Kawhi,” referring, of course, to reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. Leonard led the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA Championship in team history, then skedaddled to Los Angeles in order to play with the LA Clippers alongside Paul George.

So, just what does Len mean when he calls Hunter “baby Kawhi?” Well, for one thing, Hunter’s placid demeanor seems to mimic the stoic, stone-faced mannerisms of Leonard. This recent video posted by fellow Hawks rookie Bruno Fernando shows Hunter seemingly in his own world, unaware of his surroundings (similar to Kawhi):

Of course, the on-court similarities that Len is referring to likely revolve around Hunter’s defensive brilliance, which was well-established across his two collegiate seasons with the University of Virginia Cavaliers.

Hunter blanketed the best offensive player on the opposing team on a night-to-night basis, something that is sure to occur next season in the NBA as well.

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While Len is surely just building up his young rookie in what will hopefully be a terrific first season, let’s hope there is a kernel of truth to Len’s statement. While expecting Hunter to immediately produce at an All-NBA level is unrealistic, Hunter likely has more upside than many pundits and draftniks expect, so next season will showcase his varied and interesting skill set to its fullest.