Atlanta takes De’Andre Hunter with No. 4 pick in 2019 NBA Draft

De’Andre HunterThe Atlanta Hawks decided that UVA star De’Andre Hunter is their man, and made the first big play of the 2019 NBA Draft to get him.

The Hawks traded the No. 8, 17 and 35 picks to New Orleans to move up to the No. 4 spot to take Hunter, a 6’7” guard/forward who averaged 15.2 points per game for the national champion Cavaliers in 2018-2019.

Hunter is the best two-way player in the 2019 draft class. The national defensive player of the year as a redshirt sophomore, he also shot 52 percent from the floor and 43.8 percent from three-point range as Virginia played its way to its first national championship in basketball in April.

The Hawks will pair Hunter with Trae Young, the No. 5 pick in the 2018 draft and one of three finalists for the 2019 Rookie of the Year award after averaging 19.1 points and 8.1 assists per game, as the foundations of the roster going forward.

Young was named to the All-Rookie first team in 2019, and Atlanta also landed another guard on the All-Rookie second team, Kevin Huerter, a 6’7” guard from Maryland who was the No. 19 pick in the 2018 draft, and averaged 9.7 points per game in 2018-2019.

Another Hawk, John Collins, a 6’10” power forward from Wake Forest who was the 19th pick in the 2017 draft, was a second-team All-Rookie selection in 2018, and averaged 19.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game for Atlanta in 2018-2019.

You might expect to see Hunter starting at the three for Atlanta in 2019-2020, with Young at the one, ODU alum Kent Bazemore (11.6 ppg in 2018-2019) at the two, then Collins at four and Dewayne Dedmon (10.8 ppg, 7.5 rebounds/g) at five.

Cam Reddish, the No, 10 pick in Thursday’s draft, will push for playing time in the backcourt, along with Huerter and UVA alum Justin Anderson (3.7 ppg in 2018-2019), with another Maryland product, 7-footer Alex Len (11.1 ppg, 5.5 rebounds/g) getting bench minutes in the post.

According to RealGM.com, the No. 4 pick is slotted for a first-year salary of $5.88 million, with raises to $6.18 million in Year 2 and $6.47 million in Year 3, with a fourth-year option at $8.19 million.

Story by Chris Graham


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