The San Antonio Spurs are still an enigma of a team just a couple weeks into this season. They’re hovering above .500 right now and have possibly become the worst defensive team yet in the Gregg Popovich era. They’re finding some ways to win though without the likes of Derrick White, Lonnie Walker IV and Dejounte Murray out on the perimeter to guard other teams’ best players. And that has shown the Spurs a little bit of what else they need to really compete in the West.
We now know that the Spurs are going to need another young guy to guard along the perimeter and be able to hit some open threes — some might even call this person a “3 and D” player. There’s one player who would definitely fit this bill in Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter. And he is the subject of this week’s Spurs Prospect Watch.
Here are his numbers from his freshman season in 2017-18 while averaging about 20 minutes of playing time.:
- 9.2 PPG, 1.1 APG, 3.5 RPG
- 48.8 FG%, 38.3 3P%, 75.5 FT%
- 118.4 ORtg, 90.7 DRtg
Hunter was a bright spot for the Cavaliers last season and his wrist injury in March was a major contributor to the shocking loss the 1-seed Cavs took against 16-seed UMBC. His defensive versatility and ability to hit open shots as well as his developing offensive game make him an intriguing prospect because we really don’t know how much of a step up he will take this year with more of the spotlight on him. He will surely show some improvement and he will be a bigger part of the offense so don’t be surprised if his shooting percentages go down because of his usage rate.
However, Hunter will still be guarding several positions, which any team likes and the Spurs could certainly appreciate that as they don’t have many guys who guard multiple positions. Not only does he guard a few different positions, but he does it well and an emphasis on defense in the upcoming NBA Draft will likely be paramount for the Spurs considering how they’ve started this season. He’s an above average rebounder and he will have a chance to get better with more playing time this season.
The forward is a solid low post scorer, can shoot decently at all three levels and is excellent scoring on the move. He will need to solidify his shooting overall, show that he can guard the perimeter and some power forward at the next level despite him not being an elite athlete, and will need to get quicker off the dribble. Check back later in the year to see an update on him as many draftniks and couch scouts will be watching plenty of him throughout the year and we will need to see how he progresses from last year.