Taking a look at De’Andre Hunters underrated rookie season

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images /

De’Andre Hunter has been a solid rookie for the Atlanta Hawks this season on both ends of the floor. However, he isn’t getting the attention he deserves.

De’Andre Hunter had a good rookie season for the Atlanta Hawks and flashed potential to be a really good player in this league for years to come. At just 22 years old, Hunter still has so much room to grow. The 6-foot-7, 225-lb small forward has great defensive instincts and really good shooting mechanics, a recipe for an elite level 3-and-D wing in the NBA.

Before coming into the league Hunter was compared to the likes of OG Anunoby, Luol Deng and other 3-and-D wings. These comparisons still seem fairly accurate after his rookie season. Hunter showed flashes of elite defensive potential and was a consistent three-point shooter all season long. And while Hunter may have slightly more upside than that of an OG Anunoby or Luol Deng, a career like Deng’s would be nothing to be ashamed of (especially considering Deng was a two-time NBA All-Star!).

Hunter averaged a solid 12.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game with shooting splits of .410/.355/.764 in his rookie season, per Basketball-Reference. These numbers are actually quite impressive for a rookie considering the ups and downs all rookies are expected to have. The fact that Hunter was able to maintain a three-point percentage up above 35 percent for his entire rookie season should not go unnoticed.

Additionally, Hunter shot 38.8 percent on catch and shoot three-pointers which accounted for 4.1 of his 4.8 three-point attempts per game, per NBA.com. And while his three-point percentage off-the-dribble was abysmal (18.6 percent) he doesn’t need an off-the-dribble three-ball to be an elite player in this league. If he’s able to hit 38-40 percent of his catch and shoot three’s, play elite defense and get to the rim for a dunk from time to time, he will have a very long NBA career.

In addition to Hunters relatively good stats for a rookie, he also proved to be quite durable this season. De’Andre Hunter this season played 32.0 minutes per game and started 62 of the 63 games he played. He also played in 63 of the Hawks 67 games. Let’s just hope he’s able to maintain this level of durability late in his career.

Lastly, De’Andre Hunter is on a rookie contract for the next three years and is an incredibly valuable player on that contract. Making, at most, $9.8M in the fourth year of the contract is an absolute bargain for a guy that brings elite three-point shooting and defense every single night. Guys like Marcus Morris are getting paid $15M for similar production.

Hawks fans should be more than happy with the rookie season they just saw from De’Andre Hunter, let’s just hope he continues to improve going forward.

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