by Alex Poletti
With the NBA draft under two months away, The Second String brings a new series where our team of analysts dissects every aspect of a prospect’s game to see if they are really worth a top ten lottery pick. Here’s our pick for number four:
The fourth pick belongs to the star of the 2019 NCAA champs, the Virginia Cavaliers. Our expert team of analysts believes that sophomore De’Andre Hunter has what it takes to be an instant contributor in the 2019-2020 season for the NBA team that lands at number four in the draft.
Hunter’s biggest upside comes with his defense, which is already NBA-ready. He is no slouch on offense, either, averaging over 15 points per game last year. Still, that’s no comparison to his 2018-2019 Defensive Player of the Year performance on the other side of the ball.
The Philadelphia native has also shown a propensity to show up when the lights shine the brightest, scoring 27 points in the Finals matchup against Texas Tech.
At 6’7 and 225, the Virginia product sizes up nicely to elite defender Draymond Green of the Warriors, who was taken at 35th overall in the 2012 draft. In his senior season at Michigan State, Green actually averaged more points per game than Hunter, albeit with a weaker strength of schedule, via sports-reference.com.
There is one aspect of Draymond’s game that is completely missing: the on-field antics.
“We’ve scoured hours of tape for Hunter, trying to find an apt comparison,” lead analyst for The Second String Gabe Radtke says. “The best comparison we could find was Draymond, but through two years of footage, De’Andre never poked anyone in the eye, barely received technical fouls, none of the stuff Draymond is really known for.”
Clearly, if he wants to collect hardware at the NBA level, the 21-year-old will have to up his game in these categories. Running simulations has proven to be helpful in projecting the Virginia guard’s future.
Thanks to 3D projections developed by The Second String’s graphics team, we are certain that Hunter’s hands are the perfect size and shape for James Harden’s eye sockets.
“Based on our testing, it’s a perfect match,” Radtke says. “He has the right width and length of his fingers to cause at least lacerations in one eye.”
The potential is there, it’s just a matter of whether or not Hunter can fill the shoes.