As has been the case since the one-and-done rule was implemented in 2006, elite freshmen probably stand out as the type of players that fans pay the most attention to during the NCAA season. Probably the best example of that was seen with former Oklahoma guard Trae Young.
During the early stages of the college basketball season, Young captured the imagination of fans as he showed the mix of long-range volume and superb efficiency that we’ve only seen from someone like Stephen Curry.
In addition to that, we saw a diverse array of front-court prospects that took college hoops by storm and intrigued a lot of NBA fans. Primary examples of that include: Jaren Jackson Jr, DeAndre Ayton, Mohamed Bamba, Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. Each of those players obviously have their own strengths and weaknesses but they all should see their names called early during next month’s NBA Draft.
As that hextuple of players caught the attention of most basketball fans, there was a prospect that hid under the spotlight for the majority of his college career. That player is former Boise State forward Chandler Hutchison, who will enter next month’s NBA Draft after a stellar four-year career. As a senior, he averaged a Mountain West-best 20 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game on 47% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc on 4.1 perimeter attempts per game.
Those shooting average allowed him to maintain an above-average 57% True Shooting Percentage (TS%). Actually, that solid TS% was a great example of his evolution while at Boise State as that average improved steadily over the course of his career from 43% as a freshman, 54% as a sophomore and 55% as a junior. Considering the fact that his volume grew during that time, its extremely impressive to see that Hutchison continued to get more efficient.
Hutchison’s great play as a senior allowed him to receive a bunch of accolades for his work in the Mountain West which include; All-Defensive Team, All-Conference First Team and Mountain West Conference Player of the Year.
As his averages and accolades can tell you, Hutchison has repeatedly showcased himself to be a solid offensive weapon. His great work on that end of the floor is due a solid mix of skills from facilitating, on-ball driving and perimeter shooting.
Among those skills, his work as a perimeter shooter is probably the most intriguing of his offensive skills. That interest is largely due to how it feels like he still seems raw in that particular part of his game despite how he spent four years at Boise State.
Because before his junior year, where he shot 38% from beyond the arc on 2.2 attempts per game, perimeter shooting was never part of Hutchison’s offensive arsenal. During his first two years at Boise State, he put up a combined 27 perimeter shots. Even before his college stint, he shot 8 perimeter jumpers during his junior season at Mission Viejo High School.
His relative inexperience as a perimeter shooter is a little evident when you actually watch him play as he only seems comfortable in catch-and-shoot situations. Although you’d eventually like to see more variety, Hutchison is pretty good in that area as he has a pretty smooth shooting stroke and is relatively quick between catch and release.
Although there are some small issues that he could refine, like getting his feet set quicker or not going so low, Hutchison is pretty good for a player that basically just started in that area just a few years ago.
Although he’s raw as a perimeter shooter, a trait that he seems pretty comfortable with is driving with the ball in his hands, whether that’s in transition or half-court sets. In transition, Hutchison’s long strides really stands out as he’s always out pacing his opposition even though it really doesn’t seem like he’s moving that quickly. If there’s an opposing player in between him and the rim, he can utilize a slick little side step to move around a stationary opponent.
Those same traits coinciding with a pretty quick first step allows him to be a pretty solid driver in half-court sets. Whether he’s working with his left or right hand, its just fun to watch him work his way to the rim due to his mix of long strides, side steps and even some thunderous dunks every now and then.
Even when he doesn’t have a clear path to the rim, he can still get it done as a driver as he’s good at finishing at the rim around contact, despite only wearing 197 pounds. His great work as an on-ball driver is evident by him shooting 72% from around the rim, according to Hoop-Math.
Hutchison’s last trait of significance on the offensive end is his work as a facilitator. Averaging 3.5 assists per game, he was ranked 7th in the Mountain West in that category despite being a 6’7 forward. Due to that bigger frame, he does a nice job of overseeing the floor which allows him to easily find open teammates.
Once he does that, Hutchison is able to make the necessary pass whether he’s just standing on the perimeter or working in the drive-and-kick. That second option was actually more apparent from the film that I watched as he does a nice job of suckering the defense in before dishing it off to a teammate.
On the other end of the floor, he shines on the defensive end as he averaged 1.5 steals per game, which put him 4th in the Mountain West. Hutchison can force those turnovers whether he’s working in the passing lanes or just simply taking advantage of a sloppy opposing ball-handler.
When he isn’t forcing steals, he does a nice job of staying in front of opposing players that are driving to the paint due to his quick feet and long 7’1 wingspan. In addition to his great work as an on-ball defender, he’s also a really solid defensive rebounder, as he captured 6.8 defensive rebounds during his senior season.
Although he has his problems as an off-ball defender, as Hutchison seems to ball watch more than anybody should, he’s still pretty solid on this end of the floor, which led to him being named to the Mountain West All-Defensive Team.
While there are more than a handful of NBA Draft that are more exciting and intriguing due to their youth and ridiculous upside (pun intended), Hutchison stands as that unique prospect that seems to be ready to be a solid part of an NBA rotation while still having room to grow. When it comes to what he can do right now, he’s someone that you can depend upon to guard multiple positions, drive to the rim, facilitate and even hit the occasional perimeter jumper.
However, as someone that just turned 22-years-old last month, Hutchison is still pretty young for a guy that spent four years in college. In addition to his relative youth, he seems to be in the prime of his development stage as a player. As we previously mentioned, he’s improved tremendously as a perimeter shooter going from that not being in his offensive arsenal to shooting 36% on 4.1 perimeter attempts per game during his senior season in just a span of two years. Alongside his work as a shooter, he’s also evolved into being a pretty solid facilitator.
If he lands on the right team, hopefully that evolution can continue on the NBA level. While he might be ready to be on an NBA rotation, there’s a chance that he can spend most of the year on the G League level if he either gets selected by a playoff team or on a squad that has various players that work in the same position as Hutchison.
No matter what happens, he is a pretty versatile two-way prospect that is growing into that ideal wing that NBA teams want in their rotation. As we move closer to the NBA Draft and beyond, make sure to keep your eyes on Chandler Hutchison.