Atlanta Hawks Head Coach Lloyd Pierce Offers Ringing Endorsement of De’Andre Hunter

Lloyd Pierce Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Lloyd Pierce Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

A quick look at recent comments from Atlanta Hawks Head Coach Lloyd Pierce about #4 overall pick De’Andre Hunter after his efforts in the preseason.

The Atlanta Hawks moved myriad chips to the middle of the table this offseason in an effort to move up to #4 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft so they could select De’Andre Hunter out of Virginia.

Though Hunter did not win the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award (those honors instead going to his teammate Kyle Guy), Hunter was far and away the best player on an extremely well-coached team with an effective collegiate system.

Because Hunter was stymied by a fairly staid “pack line defense” system in college, he did not showcase many ball skills or creation abilities.

Now, with the 21-year-old gaining steam in that department, Hawks Head Coach Lloyd Pierce spoke to Andre Aldridge of Fox Sports Southeast about Hunter’s burgeoning skills with the ball in his hands. Here’s what he had to say, per a video from Fox Sports:

“Hunter has length, size, the ability to defend. Very unique that he has the ability to put the basketball on the floor. It wasn’t something that was high on our list in drafting him. We knew he had a lot of other things he was very good at and that was one that was going to be emerging and part of his growth, but he’s already shown he’s capable of doing it and he’s done it in pick-and-rolls, which is definitely something we didn’t see at Virginia much. He’s very humble; he’s very respectful in his approach; he’s got a serious demeanor; he’s got a confident approach to the game on both sides of the basketball, and so… you love the talent, you love what [he] brings and what [he’s] capable of bringing, and I’m excited to coach [him].”

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Indeed, Hunter’s passing and driving ability have been welcome surprises during the preseason, and let’s hope those skills continue to improve over the course of his career – augmenting his already-brilliant defensive chops.