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2022-23 Atlanta Hawks Player Season Review: De’Andre Hunter

2023 NBA Playoffs - Boston Celtics v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

After an impressive end to the 2021-2022 season with a 35-point game against the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the playoffs, the hope was that De’Andre Hunter’s performance would carry on into the next season. On top of that, the Hawks were ready to sign Hunter to an extension, locking in another part of their core group for the foreseeable future.

Hunter signed a four-year, $95 million contract extension right before the start of the season, which means all he had to worry about was going out and playing his game on both sides of the ball.

Hunter may have one of the hardest jobs on the team, as he's usually tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best player every night. With Dejounte Murray coming in and adding some length and size to the lineup, that move was supposed to take some pressure off Hunter at times, but Murray had his ups and downs on defense this year. The depth behind Hunter wasn't as great as years past as well, as Justin Holiday barely saw the floor before he was traded.

That meant Hunter had to be the best point of attack (POA) defender for the Hawks, where he fared well depending on the matchup. One of the spots where Hunter excelled and improved this season was as a help defender.

When Quin Snyder took over as head coach, one of the biggest things he talked about on the defensive side of the ball was players overhelping, which led to open shots for the other team. Hunter stayed patient and poised throughout the season in that area, and the hope is that his 1:1 defense continues to get better.

On offense, Hunter once again had an on and off season, but it was one of his better seasons on that side of the ball. Under Nate McMillan’s offense, it felt like Hunter was more than encouraged to shoot the mid-range, his bread and butter, but the goal was to get up as many threes as possible under Synder. Hunter was not afraid to attack his mismatch and get to his spot, which led to good things for him and the Hawks. When Hunter stayed aggressive, it showed up in the box score.

There were times when being aggressive hurt Hunter, especially when handling the ball. He’s not asked to dribble the ball as much, and you can tell from when he would drive on numerous occasions and get stripped or lose control.

Hunter was on the receiving end of a lot of catch-and-shoot opportunities, just like with any other person that plays with Trae Young. With Snyder implementing his full system next season, it won't be a surprise if Hunter sees a lot more catch-and-shoot threes in the future.

“He’s [Snyder] always encouraging me and he’s a very positive coach for me,” Hunter said during his exit interview. “He always encourages me to shoot. That’s the biggest thing that I stay aggressive.”

In all, Hunter's season was solid, and with Snyder coming in, there should be some more encouraging things to see from the forward.