Kevin Huerter NBA Draft 2018: Scouting Report for Atlanta Hawks' Pick

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterJune 22, 2018

Maryland guard Kevin Huerter (4) shoots against Rutgers guard Issa Thiam (35) during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in College Park, Md. Maryland won 61-51. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

The Atlanta Hawks selected Kevin Huerter in the 2018 NBA draft with the No. 19 overall pick.

Though Huerter was initially just testing the waters, having declared without an agent, he created a ton of buzz after one day at the combine. He was able to show more than just the jump shot he'd been known for. And now, Huerter will suddenly be a 2018-19 NBA rookie who'd been slept on since arriving at Maryland.

    

Quick hitters

Size: 6'7¼"

Weight: 194 pounds

Wingspan: 6'7½"

Reach: 8'5½"

Pro-player comparison: Joe Ingles/Klay Thompson

    

Offensive strengths

With one of the smoothest jumpers in the country, Huerter shot 41.7 percent from three last season, showing the ability to shoot off spot-ups, screens and pull-ups. His shot preparation is excellent, and his release is quick. Huerter also averaged 3.4 assists, and though not a primary playmaker, he has ball-handling skills and a strong passing IQ. He isn't an explosive athlete or advanced one-on-one scorer, but he still managed to rank in the 89th percentile in transition and convert on 14 of 20 isolation opportunities. His touch and feel for the game showed around the basket, where he shot an outstanding 68.2 percent and made eight of 17 runners.

    

Offensive weaknesses

Huerter has no muscle definition, and he will have trouble taking contact and separating against NBA-level wings. He only got to the free-throw line 2.7 times per 40 minutes. Huerter's first step lacks explosiveness, and he also gives the ball up too easily (2.9 turnovers per 40 minutes). As a pick-and-roll ball-handler, his turnover percentage was sky high at 36.7 percent.

    

Defensive outlook

Huerter's weak frame won't hold up right away against stronger forwards inside the arc. And he'll never be a defensive playmaker—per 40 minutes, he averaged 0.7 steals and 0.8 blocks. However, he finished with the fourth-fastest shuttle run time at the combine. He moves well laterally and compensates for uninspiring physical tools with defensive IQ. Huerter won't lock anyone down, but he should be able to become a quality team defender.

    

Rookie-year projection

Though not physically on par with NBA players at his position, Huerter can still contribute next season by playing to his strengths as a shot-maker and passer. He'll help space the floor, and he should benefit from more effective scorers and playmakers around him. His 60.5 two-point percentage last year highlights the fact he only takes quality shots, so he shouldn't hurt the offense, even if his three-ball isn't falling.

    

Projected role: Quality starter

Huerter will always be valued for his shooting first, but he can also score in multiple ways. Skilled off the dribble with positional size, his ceiling is higher than a specialist's such as Kyle Korver's. Like Ingles, Huerter has the chance to offer shooting, secondary playmaking, in-between scoring and smart defense as a quality starter. The long-shot ceiling is Thompson's if Huerter becomes elite with each of his core skills.

    

Stats courtesy of Synergy Sports and Sports-Reference.com.

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