Who is Olivier Hanlan?
By John Vasington
In an effort to clear cap space, the Spurs traded Boris Diaw to the Utah Jazz back on July 8. In return they the Jazz’s 2015 second round pick, Olivier Hanlan.
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A Boston College product, Hanlan is the former ACC Rookie of the Year from the same freshman season as North Carolina’s Marcus Paige. He was an under-recruited Canadian prospect coming out of high school, but by the time he was a junior he would be receiving All-ACC First Team honors.
In college, Hanlan’s game was built on his ability to get past defenders with a quick first step. By attacking the rim, he created opportunities for himself and his teammates. Although he was never an elite shooter, he was consistently capable of shooting well enough to keep defenders honest.
As his skills progressed, his experience increased and Boston College’s talent on the floor diminished, Hanlan’s usage skyrocketed. According to KenPom, in his final season with the Eagles, Hanlan took 32.3% of the team’s shots when he was on the floor in ACC play, the highest mark in the league.
The fact that he averaged 17.8 points per game over his three-year career at Boston College was particularly impressive because he was always the team’s main source of offensive production. ACC defenses keyed in on Hanlan night-in and night-out, but he was still able to effectively put the ball in the basket.
Hanlan showcases good lift on his jump shot. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports
Scoring was his biggest strength throughout his time in the NCAA, but heading into his junior season the Eagles’ primary ball handler had transferred and Hanlan was forced to make the transition from shooting guard to point guard. Undeterred by the lack of talent surrounding him, Hanlan became one of the best facilitators in the ACC, averaging 4.2 assists per game.
His play at Boston College was nothing short of remarkable, as he played 37.6 minutes per game; defending the opposing team’s top guards while facing constant pressure and double-teams on the offensive end of the floor. Despite that impressive track record, Hanlan entered the draft as a lesser-known commodity. He was never was able to get the national media attention other players of his caliber typically received while in school. This was largely due to Boston College’s lack of success as far as their record was concerned. The team failed to qualify for the NIT or NCAA tournament in a single season while Hanlan was in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
In the 2015 NBA Draft, the Jazz selected him 42nd overall in the second round as a draft-and-stash prospect. After scoring 4.1 points per game on Utah’s Summer League Team in 2015, Hanlan signed a one year contract with Zalgiris Kaunas, a Lithuanian team. In his time overseas, he averaged 7.6 points per game along with 2.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists.
In his only 2016 NBA Summer League contest, Hanlan scored 11 points in a game against the same Spurs he would be traded to the next day.
The next step for San Antonio and their plan for Hanlan remains unclear. His contract with Zalgiris Kaunus is structured with a player option next season, so he can choose to opt out if the Spurs offer him a contract. If they do not, he can return to Lithuania to continue developing his game and the Spurs will retain his rights until he is one year removed from a professional contract.
No matter what R.C. Buford decides, San Antonio received far from a “nobody” from the Utah Jazz in return for Boris Diaw, acquiring a talented scorer in Olivier Hanlan.