DOUGHERTY: Examining Hall’s NBA chance

Breakout Virginia guard has the tools to become a productive NBA draft pick

Hall Dougherty column

Devon Hall averaged 11.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per contest last season.

Christina Anton | Cavalier Daily

Few players over the past several years have exemplified the ideal product of Virginia men’s basketball Coach Tony Bennett’s coaching philosophy more than guard Devon Hall. In his five years as a Cavalier, Hall grew — albeit gradually — into a strong all-around player, with a strong character and a penchant for lockdown defense.

The 6-foot-5 guard from Virginia Beach may just parlay his incredible hard work at Virginia into a pickup by a team in the NBA Draft.

Little was said about Hall as a potential NBA prospect before his senior season, but he showed just how valuable he could be at the next level with a stellar final campaign. Hall averaged 11.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per contest last season — ranking second on the team in all three categories. His versatility was instrumental in guiding his team to a number one ranking and an ACC title.

Looking towards the next level, Hall figures to be in the mix for a second round selection in the NBA Draft on Thursday, with many teams scouting him as a “three-and-D” wing player. To shed some light on Hall’s future NBA, it’s worth considering how teams view his strengths and weaknesses, as well as what teams he could best fit into a role with.

Biggest assets

Hall asserted himself as an elite marksman from behind the arc in his senior season. His 43.2 percent mark from three-point range led the Cavaliers by a wide margin by the end of the season. Also of note was his versatility in scoring from deep, showing his ability to step back and find his own shot as well as catch and shot off of an assist. 

Scoring was far from Hall’s only calling card at Virginia, as he excelled as both a facilitator and rebounder. His 6-foot-9 wingspan and strong body will attract teams looking for a guard to help on the glass, as well as his adept ball-handling skills.

As a product of Bennett, it only figures that Hall’s defensive prowess is elite — but he took Bennett’s teachings to another level. Hall excelled at guarding multiple positions on the perimeter, ranking third on the team in defensive wins shared with 2.6. He plays incredibly hard on the defensive end and has the propensity to create transition opportunities with steals and ball pressure. 

Biggest question marks

Much like former Virginia player and second round pick Malcolm Brogdon, Hall gets looked past for not being an exceptional athlete. Hall’s more methodical offensive game may not be an ideal fit for some NBA teams, as they may question his ability to pick up the speed and physicality of the professional level.

The biggest noticeable flaw in Hall’s game is his struggling with finishing inside. Throughout his career at Virginia, he flashed the ability to move quickly in the paint and create layup opportunities, but often struggled with both scoring and drawing contact. Teams may see this as a major limit to Hall’s offensive ceiling despite his solid outside shooting.

Finally, Hall will be 23 by time the NBA season starts, limiting his time for development. While he comes in with more college experience than most draft-hopeful players, teams often value younger plays since they have a greater window to develop them before their prime years.

NBA player comparison: Danny Green

An archetypal three-and-D player, the San Antonio Spurs guard has a game similar to that of Hall. Standing at a similar 6-foot-6 and 216 pounds, Green is hailed as a hustle defender who grinds for rebounds and stops in transition. A career 39.5 percent shooter from beyond the arc, Green is trusted as a reliable threat for a big bucket as a role player. Hall brings a similar energy and consistency on both ends of the floor.

Logical team fits

San Antonio Spurs (49th pick): Ranking 26th in the league with a 35.2 percent three-point shooting season last year, the Spurs need some long-range shooters to stay in contention in the stacked Western Conference. Beyond shooting, Hall could add some valuable length to the rotation that it lacked at the guard position last year. Pairing him with budding defensive star point guard Dejounte Murrary could give the Spurs a solid, length backcourt core to build around.

New Orleans Pelicans (51st pick): The Pelicans enjoyed a breakout season last year as one of the league’s best defensive teams. Star power forward Anthony Davis and point guard Jrue Holiday both made the NBA’s All-Defensive Team, and adding Hall into the fold could elevate them even further on that end. Hall would also help improve the team’s three-point shooting, filling in the all-around solid Holiday’s one offensive weakness. Though not likely to be the star of the show, Hall’s skillset could prove a vital piece in shoring up New Orleans as a playoff contender.

Phoenix Suns (59th pick): A young and raw team, the Suns ranked both last in three-point percentage and defensive rating last season. With three higher picks in the draft, the Suns have the ability to add elite talent early in the draft before getting to Hall, where they could find a hard-working leader to complete their draft class. Hall can provide a defensive spark to the team in close games as Phoenix learns how to win. 

Hall is no lock to hear his name called on Thursday, but his exceptional intangibles and useful skill-set as a shooter and defender give him a fighting chance to find a role in the NBA. With his strong work ethic carrying the way, chances are we have not seen the last of him in American basketball.  

Alec Dougherty is a Sports Editor for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached by email at a.dougherty@cavalierdaily.com or on Twitter at @aduggs96. 

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