Atlanta Hawks: De’Andre Hunter named team’s most underrated player

Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Seth Wenig - Pool/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Seth Wenig - Pool/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA. They are three-deep with capable players at each position and have a versatility with their roster that is unmatched. Along with that, they have some serious star power with Trae Young and excitement with John Collins.

But sometimes, solid players slip through the cracks of coverage for whatever reason.

De’Andre Hunter might be that player for the Hawks. His 2021 season was interrupted not once but twice by a knee injury that required surgery.

Atlanta Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter was a key piece they did without for most of 2021

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According to Bleacher Report, Hunter’s absence has highlighted his importance to this team.

Dan Favale released his list of every NBA team’s most underrated player and, in listing Hunter, explained that everyone is aware of his skill set as “a 6’8″ wing who can switch across four positions and move the offensive needle with a touch more than just floor spacing” but hasn’t gotten to see it put into action thanks to injuries.

He played in just 23 regular-season games and five playoff games, all in the first series against the Knicks.

"“Prior to suffering the first of his right knee injuries, he was in the onset running for Most Improved Player, averaging 16.7 points through his first 13 games on better than 50 percent shooting inside the arc and a 40 percent clip from beyond it, all while showcasing an extra gear of put-it-on-the-deckism.”"

What’s more, in the five games before he went down, he averaged 22.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists with a pair of steals per game. He did this while shooting 54.9 percent from the floor and 34.6 percent from beyond the arc.

In his five postseason appearances, he averaged 10.8 points and 4.0 boards on 40 percent shooting and 37.5 percent from outside.

Hunter is one of a plethora of wings on the Hawks roster that, when healthy, gives them numerous lineup possibilities going forward.

"“Wrapping that combination of spacing and functional shooting into a big, strong combo wing who unlocks dangerously shifty small-ball units that won’t wilt on defense is terrifying—for the rest of the league. And it’s part of why the Atlanta Hawks are working off such a stellar offseason despite not doing much beyond roster maintenance and late-draft dice rolls: They still have a clear path toward demonstrative internal improvement.”"

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Expectations might need to be tempered with Hunter coming back off of injury and to a deeper surrounding cast. That could keep him in the “underrated” category. But he could return a better player even if his numbers are worse.