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Oklahoma City Thunder

Rookie Devon Hall Brings Defensive Intensity To Oklahoma City

M. Hofeld

matthofeld

Devon Hall made only five three-point shots as a freshman at Virginia. Last season, as a senior, he was good from long-range 57 times (43.2%). I’m not going to tell you that the Caviler offense went through Hall’s hands but Virginia did score on an average of 1.15 points per possession when he was on the floor as opposed to 0.94 points per possession when he wasn’t. That isn’t why Oklahoma City drafted him though.

A five-year college player, Hall used his time at Virginia to develop an all-around game. He’s quick off the dribble, a straight-line attacker, and a good shooter. In catch-and-shoot situations he was throwing daggers at a rate of 68.9% (source). He was even better coming off screens (69.6%). He has a assist/turnover ratio of 3.1/1 and, according to KenPom, a 19.6% assist rate. Also, don’t overlook his experience of starting 80 consecutive games. That’s not why Oklahoma City drafted him though.

He’s also pretty good at getting to the charity stripe where he shot 80% during his collegiate career. You guessed it, that’s not why Oklahoma City drafted him though.

The Thunder collapsed defensively last season after Andre Roberson was lost due to a knee injury. With no suitable replacement for the defensive intensity available on the bench, OKC made it a priority to find one during the off-season. That is why Oklahoma City drafted Devon Hall. Everything else that comes with his defensive skill set is just a bonus.

A five-year disciple of defensive-minded coach Tony Bennett, Hall was the Cavs best defensive player. So much so that he was on the ACC All Defensive Team.

Largely compared to Joe Harris (Another former Virginia player), Hall isn’t expected to replace Roberson in the starting lineup. He could, however, prove to be a valuable asset off the bench that could keep the defensive intensity going, and serve as an insurance policy in the event of another catastrophic injury.

Hall is excellent at keeping the ball in front of him and closing out on shooters. In addition, he has active hands and plays defense off the ball as well. His footwork is excellent which makes it extremely difficult for offensive players to get past him and his size (6-6/206) and strength allows him to guard multiple positions. He won’t be a liability if caught on a switch.

There are numerous boxes on Oklahoma City’s off-season checklist but finding some defensive helps looks like it can be marked off.

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