ATLANTA (AP) — After pulling off another trade, the Atlanta Hawks added to their impressive young core by selecting wingman De'Andre Hunter from national champion Virginia with the No. 4 pick of the NBA draft on Thursday night.
The selection was technically made by the Los Angeles Lakers as part of the Anthony Davis trade, but Hunter will wind up with the Hawks after their deal with the New Orleans Pelicans just before the start of the draft.
The Hawks got the fourth choice from the Pelicans in exchange for the No. 8, No. 17 and No. 35 picks, along with a protected first-round pick from Cleveland in 2020 that belonged to Atlanta. The trade was confirmed by a person familiar with the deal but can't be finalized until the NBA's new year begins on July 6.
Atlanta targeted 6-foot-7, 225-pound Hunter as the seemingly perfect fit on a team that already has two of the league's rising stars: Trae Young at point guard and John Collins on the inside.
In addition to the fourth pick, the Hawks got the No. 57 selection, a future second-round pick and forward Solomon Hill from New Orleans. Atlanta still had the No. 10 overall pick, giving the rebuilding team a chance to add another top prospect.
With his inside-out ability, Hunter led the Cavaliers to their first national championship as a redshirt sophomore, most notably hitting the overtime-forcing 3-pointer in the victory over Texas Tech in the title game. He was the Atlantic Coast Conference defensive player of the year and picked up the national defensive award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Hunter isn't as flashy as others in the draft and, if anything, he needs to be more assertive. There were times when he blended into the background with his unselfish play and an offensive game that still needs a bit of refining.
But he averaged 15.2 points on 52% shooting and hit nearly 44% of his attempts beyond the arc, just what the Hawks are looking for on a team that general manager Travis Schlenk hopes to build in the mold of the Golden State Warriors.
Hunter's biggest selling point: Virginia won 66 of 71 games over two seasons with him in the lineup and lost the only game without him — that shocker against No. 16-seed UMBC in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
Hunter was wearing a Lakers cap at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where the draft was held. But he knew that Atlanta was his actual destination.
The Hawks were the only team that Hunter worked out for individually before the draft.
"When I went there, they had a pretty strong feeling about me," he said. "I knew that was the place I wanted to be. That was one of my destinations. I'm happy they traded up and got that pick."
Hunter was wearing a picture of his father, who died when De'Andre was just 7 years old.
"I wanted him to be here with me," Hunter said. "He got drafted like I got drafted. He's here watching over me."