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Thunder 2015 NBA draft: small school sharpshooter R.J. Hunter could hit the mark

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Should the Thunder Draft R.J. Hunter? YES

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

**10:12 PM June 2nd Update**

The Thunder hosted R.J. Hunter for a workout yesterday. While numerous players are brought in for workouts, it at least gives credence to Hunter being on Thunder radar.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Great workout with <a href="https://twitter.com/okcthunder">@okcthunder</a> today!</p>&mdash; RJ Hunter (@RJHunter22) <a href="https://twitter.com/RJHunter22/status/605478881173176321">June 1, 2015</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>


Prospect: R.J. Hunter

School: Georgia State

DOB: 10/24/93 (21 years old)

I knew nothing about R.J. Hunter until the NCAA tournament when he simultaneously broke the hearts of the Baylor Bears and captured the heart of the country. His dad even fell out of his chair.

Hunter's three year college career was much more than just a big shot against Baylor. He put up some really good numbers.

Here are his stats from last season.

Points

Rebounds

Assists

FT%

3PT%

Turnovers

19.5

4.7

3.5

88.7

29.8

2.2

Here are his adjusted per 40 stats.

Points

Rebounds

Assists

FT%

3PT%

Turnovers

21.0

5.1

3.7

88.7

29.8

2.3

Strengths

Size

At 6-6/185 lbs. Hunter will need to add additional weight, but when you combine his height with a 6'10.5" wingspan you have a player that can be a really good defensive player. Hunter showed flashes of this averaging 2.1 steals a game.

Shooting

His 3PT% was definitely lower than it should have been this season at 29.8%. He however shot 35.9% and 39.7% for his freshman and sophomore seasons at Georgia State.

Chad Ford tweeted this about R.J Hunter at the combine:

Further, DraftExpress.com has this to say about Hunter's shooting ability:

Hunter's biggest appeal as a NBA prospect revolves around his outside shot, even if that's far from his only strength at the moment. He has deep range extending well beyond the 3-point line, and can make shots in a variety of ways, be it off spot-ups, coming off screens, or pulling up off the dribble. Hunter's release point is somewhat low, which would be more of an issue if he didn't get his shot off as quickly as he did. His mechanics are smooth and compact, complete with terrific footwork and a pretty follow-through, and he sets his feet and shoots it all in one quick, effortless and aesthetically pleasing motion.

Hunter's percentages as a jump-shooter were nothing to write home about over the course of his college career—he made just 35% of his 3-point attempts at Georgia State and 30% as a junior. He shows great confidence and aggressiveness as a shooter, though, hitting some deep and incredibly difficult looks that only real snipers do. That, combined with his mechanics, the huge volume of 3s he attempts (over 7-attempts per game), and his sparkling percentages from the free throw line (89% as a junior) lead you to believe that he'll find a way to develop into a very dangerous shooter in the NBA, particularly when he's drawing less attention from defenses than he did as a marked man every night for Georgia State.

Weaknesses

He Will Have to Get Stronger

He has the frame to put on some additional muscle and this will be necessary in order for him to not get bullied by stronger wings in the NBA.

Learning How to Play Man to Man Defense

Georgia State was almost exclusively a zone team, which allowed Hunter to roam and take more chances, knowing that another player could compensate for his gamble. The NBA is almost exclusively man to man, so this will be an adjustment.

Can His Game Translate from a Small School?

Georgia State didn't exactly play the strongest of schedules, and as such, Hunter was almost always the most athletic and talented player on the floor. This will obviously change as he transitions to the NBA.


Final Thoughts


Had Hunter not had a sub-par junior season, he would almost assuredly be a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. If many people are willing to cut Justin Anderson slack for his poor shooting in his first two seasons at Virginia, then seemingly it would follow that we would make the same allowance for Hunter's junior season.

Another interesting scenario would present itself, should the Thunder decide to draft Hunter. They could potential trade down with another team (say Toronto) and pick up a player like Terrence Ross in the process.

While not the most glamorous pick, drafting Hunter could finally give the Thunder the wing it needs and has been searching for over the past few seasons.