Height: 6’8” Weight: 227 Wingspan: 7’2” Age: 21 College: Virginia Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Deandre Hunter may be the best defender in the draft and has a really high floor. Even though he has a high floor, he also has a high ceiling so he is an incredible prospect. He can help a team with his on ball defense, versatility offensively and defensively, floor spacing, and winning experience. There really isn’t anything specific that he will hurt a team with. He’s known not be a good shot creator, but I don’t believe it’s true. However, he will need to become a better shot creator if he wants to become a star. He scored 18.8 points per 40 for Virginia this year, and did it very efficiently. There have been questions about his offensive aggression and confidence, but I think many of those questions were put to rest after he scored 27 in the national championship game, leading his team to a title. Deandre Hunter may not live up to his all star potential, but at the very least he is a very solid 3 and D prospect with
winning experience that you can rely on.
Deandre Hunter is probably the best defensive player in the draft. He has great length, strength, and quickness and because of this he can defend 1-5 in the modern NBA outside of a few of the strongest centers. That is important because of how many teams switch in the modern NBA. He is a proven lockdown defender guarding 1-4. In addition to his physical gifts, he has great technique and effort. This is no surprise because he was taught by Tony Bennett, one of the defensive coaches in college basketball. It’s rare to find a prospect with his athletic ability have such good technique defensively. He’ll be a great defender right away, and down the road I think he will be one of the best defenders in the world because he is great on and off the ball.
Atleast at the beginning of his career Deandre will spend most of his time on offense being a spot up player. He was in the 76th percentile as a spot up player last season which was equivalent to 1.051PPP. His efficiency was 1.244PPP off of no dribble jumpers, but he only shot no dribble jumpers 54% of the time. If he did this more, he would likely be more efficient. He sometimes looked unsure of his jumper, but he shouldn’t be because of how efficient he has proven to be with it. He took too many dribble jumpers out of spot up situations, and that’s what hurt his efficiency. A long two off the dribble is the least efficient shot in basketball and he took to many of them. He was solid when he got all the way to the rim out of spot ups, and he is a very good finisher. He’s a pretty basic finisher at this stage of this career but still efficient. Also if you are as long as strong as he is it is fine to be a basic finisher. He is known to be just a spot up shooter, but he was also was solid shooting off screens this year. He was in the 69th percentile in this area, and I think at some point in his career he could be used coming off off ball screens because he can drive off them too.
Deandre shot the ball very efficiently last year, but I think if he took more efficient shots he would be even better. Everyone that follows modern basketball knows that threes are much more efficient than mid range shots. Last year only 54% of Deandres jump shots were threes, and he had 1.347PPP on them. If you compare this to his long twos which was .826PPP, and short jumpers which was .789PPP he is obviously a lot more efficient from behind the line. He is always going to take more mid range jumpers than most because most of his iso game comes out of the midpost, but his ratio of threes to mid range should still change some. He needs to become a better shooter off the dribble, and if he does he has a good chance of being an all star someday. Deandre isn’t known for his shot creation but he definitely has some skill in this department. His iso game is very simple, and he is incredible at using jab steps. There were times this year where he made defenders look silly with his jab steps. He doesn’t have many crossover moves yet, and this will be the next evolution in his game. However, he does change speeds well on his lefty hesitation, and this created some easy blow bys, and gave him good space for his jumper. He has a lot of potential as a shot creator with continued work on his handles. He was in the 75th percentile in isolations including passes. He also has a post game, and will punish weaker players on the block if anybody wants to switch small guys to guarding him. He didn’t get to run many plays as the pick and roll ball handler, but when he did he was in the 90th percentile in pick and rolls including passes. He did nothing special, but was very simple. He played at his own pace and made the right reads, and this resulted in incredible efficiency.
Deandre Hunter is one of the safest picks in the draft, and also has great upside. He is a proven winner that comes from a winning program, and also has a lot of talent. At worst he is a very solid 3 and D guy that will start for many years in the league, and if he improves his handles he could develop in a way like Kawhi. He has a similar body type to Kawhi, although Kawhi is quicker, Hunter is still plenty quick enough. Where Kawhi is way ahead of him is ball handling, and shooting off the dribble, but when Kawhi was Deandres age this was not the case. I’m not saying I’ll think he’ll be a Kawhi level player because I don’t, but I think he has some chance, and I think it is likely he ends up an all star someday.