The situation of the two players today is an indication of their careers so far.
Culver’s 4th-year rookie option was not picked up by his team while Hunter’s was. This allowed Atlanta to come in and sign Culver to a two-way contract, offering him a chance to “get things right” in the G-League.
Now, the two are teammates and are attempting to prove different things as they play for the Hawks in these early preseason games.
Hunter, perhaps fittingly, has looked like a man on a mission, scoring 38 points in 34 minutes on 65 percent from the floor in two games.
Culver has played in one of the two games, garnering seven minutes and turning the ball over twice, all while adding zero points, zero rebounds, zero assists, zero steals, and zero blocks.
If it wasn’t apparent that the two career paths are mirror opposites, it should be now.
Culver is certainly within the bubble of players that are at major risk of being cut before the season opener on October 19th even despite having a two-way deal. Meanwhile, Hunter is establishing himself as a very real candidate to break out and potentially earn an award.
Thus, the Hawks were right to trust what they saw in the 2019 NCAA Men’s College Basketball National Championship. If they hadn’t and decided to go with Culver instead, they wouldn’t have their up-and-coming star on the wing. The rebuild may have looked entirely different.
Judging by how events have transpired, it doesn’t seem like they’d still have Culver either.