It did not take long after the Hawks moved the 8th, 17th, and 35th selections in exchange for the 4th and 57th picks as well as Solomon Hill to find out who they were targeting. Adrian Wojnarowski made it immediately clear that general manager Travis Schlenk already had his guy in mind: De’Andre Hunter, a wing from UVA.
Atlanta is pursuing Virginia's DeAndre Hunter with the No. 4 pick, league sources tell ESPN. Atlanta GM Travis Schlenk makes a big move in lottery second year in a row to get his man. Last year, it was Trae Young. This time, DeAndre Hunter.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 20, 2019
First and foremost, a tip of the cap to Schlenk, as he essentially takes on two bad expiring contracts to move up four spots in this draft to get his guy, yet again. Taurean Prince was included in the deal with the Nets, but Hunter will effectively replace his role in the offense.
So what are the Hawks getting in Hunter?
At an athletic 6’7″ with an incredible 7’2″ wingspan, he will be able to guard several positions at the next level and possibly all five of them. There shouldn’t be a switch he is incapable of making, and he takes pride in that side of the ball. It is a little odd that Hunter only averaged 0.6 steals and 0.5 blocks in his two years at Virginia, but that is most likely a testament to the style of ball they play and their emphasis on team defense. Hunter will be a plus defender and could become an elite defender in the NBA.
Offensively, he rarely forces things, and there isn’t a particular area of weakness for defenses to attack. He’s not as smooth as a player like Cam Reddish, but the results from everywhere on the floor are there. Hunter can put his head down and attack the basket with the ball in his hand. His handle is not exceptional, but his strength to finish around the cup is as good as any other prospect I have watched to this point. As a long athlete, he can finish over the top of rim protectors in the NBA, but he’s just as impressive taking contact, remaining focused, and kissing it off the glass.
The jump shot is there and only improved throughout his college career. He shot over 38% as a redshirt freshman and bumped it up to 43.8% this past year on 2.8 attempts per game. It’s not a ton of shots for a player who projects as a small forward in the NBA, but once again, Virginia’s pace of play and style is going to have an impact on that number. Hunter excels as a shooter, and if you watched the NCAA Tournament, he had no problem chucking them up and making them when the Hoos needed a three most.
Hunter brings exceptional outside shooting, elite defense, championship pedigree, and fills a need on the wing going forward. He can be a crucial cog going forward, and one thing is for sure: Travis Schlenk has earned Hawks fans’ trust.