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Shooting Guard | 6’6 | 185 | Georgia St.
Projected: Late 1st round
Best Case: Kevin Martin
Most Likely: Austin Rivers
Worst Case: Jimmer Fredette
Elite scorer from a weak conference is projected to fall in the Blazers draft range. Great news right? It worked a charm with Dame. Seems to be heading in a good direction with CJ. Big Sky, Patriot, Sun Belt….what’s the difference? If you can get buckets then you can get buckets. Except, I don’t think RJ Hunter will be filling it up for whichever team is unfortunate enough to draft him come June 25th.
Here is a guy who has spent three years against poor competition without really showing much growth as a player. He never dominated in the fashion Dame and CJ did, or even like Jimmer did at BYU. He’s a volume 3 point shooter who shot 35% over his college career. Under 40% from the field and under 30% from range in his last season with Georgia State. Last time I was asked to excuse nasty percentages from a reportedly elite shooter it was Bradley Beal in his freshman season at Florida (a player Hunter very much likes to compare himself to). Three key differences: Beal was 18 years old, he already had perfect form on his shot and the numbers were 44% field, 34% range. Hunter is 21, shoots it with a flick from in front of his nose and again, shot sub 40% from the field and sub 30% from range.
I could be wrong to doubt Hunter’s shooting credentials – Kevin Pelton mentioned that FT% is a better predictor of eventual NBA three point shooting success than college 3PT%. If that is the case then Hunter’s 88% mark from the stripe his past two seasons should stand him in good stead. Say he becomes a ~40% volume shooter from distance, I could see a Belinelli like career as a backup who occasionally catches fire in that scenario. The problem with predicting a better outcome than that for Hunter is that, like Belinelli, he can’t defend at all well, isn’t much of an athlete and won’t offer you a great deal as a ball-handler or passer. At best I could see him being a Kevin Martin style pure scorer. He’s also lanky and lacking in strength, much like Martin, ruling out significant time at small forward for at least his first few seasons.
Dubious college credentials, a shot that could well be gobbled up by NBA velocity closeouts and a spindly frame. Usually I can find something to like about a prospect but I’m struggling here. He plays passing lanes well I guess and improved some as a facilitator this season. Other than that and Pelton’s love for him, I can offer no reason to draft this man. Blazers, please avoid.