The Celtics selected R.J. Hunter with the No. 28 pick in 2015 NBA draft on Thursday night at the Barclays Center.
The Georgia State shooting guard averaged 19.7 points, 3.6 assists and 2.1 steals in his junior year. He won the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year award the last two seasons.
Hunter garnered national attention in March when he drained a long three-pointer to upset No. 3 seed Baylor in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. R.J.’s father, Georgia State head coach Ron, memorably fell out of his chair while celebrating the shot. The win ensured the No. 14 seed Panthers posted at least 25 victories for the second consecutive season.
Strengths: The main reason Hunter is a coveted NBA prospect is his shooting ability. Though his three-point percentage declined from 39.7 to 29.9 between his sophomore and junior seasons, he finished No. 15 in the country in long-range attempts in 2014-15, which accounted for 51% of his total field goal attempts. Hunter drew nearly six fouls per 40 minutes during conference play, according to kenpom.com, and made good on his trips to the line, converting at an 88.7% clip. He profiles as a complementary scorer in the NBA, but Hunter flashed the ability to facilitate offensive opportunities for his teammates, as he recorded just over four assists per 40 minutes in ‘14-15, adjusted for pace.
Weaknesses: Hunter did not offset his dip in three-point accuracy with improved shooting inside the arc. Playing the majority of his games against subpar competition in a weaker conference, Hunter connected on only 36.6% of his two-point jump shots last season. Though Hunter possesses favorable length (6’10 ½’’ wingspan) and recorded a 3.4 steal percentage and 4.6 block percentage during Sun Belt play last season, it’s tough to say whether he’ll be able to hold his own defensively in the NBA after spending so much of his time at GSU in a zone defense.