De’Andre Hunter: On-Ball Offense
Our scouting grades represent the composite opinion of at least three different scouts. Each category is graded based on how we view a player’s current ability level relative to NBA players at the same position (guard, wing, forward or big). A grade of 1 indicates replacement level, a grade of 5 indicates NBA average, and a grade of 10 indicates historically elite.
Hunter is a solid ball handler for a larger wing. He has a nice crossover and a left-to-right between-the-legs move which he relies on often, but hasn’t flashed the ability to chain his dribble moves together yet. Doesn’t have a ton of shake, but uses fakes well to create space. He uses his length on the dribble well to create space. He is becoming increasingly comfortable going from his dribble moves into his shooting mechanics and will continue to improve in this area with experience. He likes to favor his right hand around the rim and will sweep from the left elbow into the paint with right handed dribbles. He isn’t going to blow by defenders, but his stride length and upper body strength make him a strong threat attacking the basket.
Hunter is a good decision maker as a passer, can make decisive reads within the flow of an offense, but does at times struggle as a passer making reads attacking off the dribble. He can be a ball mover when assigned to off-ball duties and shows a good feel for the weak side of the floor when he is stationary, but is not nearly as effectively attacking. A lot of his stationary reads on the weak side are necessary for an offense as they shift the defense and generate a lot of hockey assists. However, he isn't a great downhill passer as he tends to look to score after picking up his second or third dribble. How much this will affect his NBA stock remains to be seen however, because he is more projectable in a low usage role where he can flash his ball handling and scoring capabilities against teams' weaker defenders. One thing worth noting is that he is a good big-to-big passer, especially in high-low situation (not something that comes up a tremendous amount in the NBA game, but still something worth noting.
Shooting off the dribble
He is becoming a more potent threat transitioning from a dribble into his jump shot; however, this isn't (nor should it be) his main method of generating offense. Comparing his film to last season, he is much more confident in his ability to take and make shots while creating for himself. He has a very fluid pull up jumper squaring his hips and shoulders to the basket and displaying a quick and decisive wrist flick. One problem he will have at the NBA level is creating separation against quicker defenders, though he might be able to shoot over them. Has shown significant growth in this area from last season, so it is likely he can continue to develop as he ages.
Finishing off the dribble
Hunter has great length and strength when attacking the basket and can generate decent looks in a crowded lane. He is adept at identifying and exploiting mismatches against big men. He likes to go from the left elbow to the right side of the basket to protect layups because he isn't an explosive leaper. UVA's offense packs the paint which doesn't give him a lot of room to operate, especially when playing with Jack Salt. He has had problems finishing in traffic this season not showing great touch finishing around or through defenders, but much of that issue comes from when he is flat-footed. On the dribble, he tends to rely on making space with his wingspan and shoulder strength to get the ball on the glass.
Finishing in the post
This is another area where Hunter tends to pick his spots. He is a capable post up player but will usually only quick post when he has an advantage on a switch or against a smaller defender. He has shown a nice face-up jumper out of back-to-the-basket situations, which might become his primary post weapon in the NBA. He uses his shoulders well and has a soft jump hook which is better from his right hand, but has trouble finishing from the post in traffic. Opposing big men can give him trouble in the restricted area, something which may hinder his ability to score out of these situations at the next level.