Height/Weight: 6'8", 230 lbs
Age: 20 years old
Projected NBA Position: Point Forward
Pro Comparison: Boris Diaw/Poor man's Lamar Odom
Twitter Handle: @KyleAnderson5
Kyle Anderson enjoyed a breakout season during his sophomore campaign at UCLA, as his playmaking abilities caught the attention of NBA scouts and executives.
His draft stock is quite fluid because not everyone is sold on his slow-footed style and unproven perimeter shooting. However, he remains an intriguing first-round option due to his ball-handling skills, court vision and tremendous 6'8" frame.
Anderson has been on scouts' and recruiters' radars since his high school days in New Jersey, but his jump to the Association will be the most challenging one yet.
Does he have what it takes to create dynamically and defend NBA athletes? Let's break down his value as he embarks on his pro career.
|Statistics at UCLA|
Anderson has awesome size for a playmaker, as he's 6'8.5" with shoes on and owns a 7'2.75" wingspan, per DraftExpress. With that type of length, he can see over wing defenders and extend smoothly for passes and shots.
Unfortunately, he's got some ugly physical tools as well. Anderson, whose nickname is "Slow-Mo," is about as sluggish as any non-center in the NBA.
His lead-footed strides will struggle to get past average athletes, and he can't leap high, either.
As a result, he's going to have to rely on his size, hesitation and deception in order to create separation against forwards.
Facilitating Instincts and Skills
Anderson may not be a tremendous creator off slashes at the next level, but he's still going to use his ball-handling skills and passing deftness to set up his teammates.
He's great at probing the defense and patiently waiting for the perfect window to pass. When his chance arrives, he uses his long arms to toss the rock on target, giving his teammates high-percentage chances.
Anderson can diagnose the situation and pass from any spot on the floor. He can execute a quarterback rifle on the fast break, a bounce pass from the elbow or a timely kick-out from the low post.
While he may not be a full-time floor general at the NBA level, he'll be able to facilitate the offense efficiently and add a dimension as a point forward that most teams don't have.
Promising Shooting Touch
Since he's going to have a tough time driving past opponents and finishing at the rim, much of Anderson's scoring will consist of mid- and long-range jumpers.
His shooting delivery and touch has noticeably improved over the past year. He's more confident and proficient on turnarounds and step-backs, and he's dramatically improved his three-point shot (21 percent as a freshman to 48 percent as a sophomore).
During predraft workouts, he took the opportunity to showcase his mid-range game. He showed why he notched 1.09 points per possession (PPP) on jumpers in 2013-14, including 1.42 PPP off catch-and-shoot looks and 1.01 PPP off the dribble (per Mike Schmitz of DraftExpress).
If he wants to serve as a legitimate scoring threat at the next level, he must streamline and quicken this jumper even a little more and use it on mid-post turnarounds and spot-up triples.
Length for Defense and Rebounding
There's something to be said for a 7'2.75" wingspan, 230-pound body and superb basketball instincts. It's going to lead to some key rebounds for the skilled forward.
He crashed the glass magnificently at UCLA, snaring 11 boards per 40 minutes during his two seasons. Anderson won't put up that kind of rebounding rate in the NBA, but his court awareness and length will serve him well as a small forward.
In addition, his reach will help compensate for his snail-paced footwork on the defensive end. He read plays brilliantly in college and then used his wingspan to grab 2.2 steals per 40 minutes. He'll find some pass deflections and also poke the ball from playmakers in the NBA.
Pretty much all of Anderson's weaknesses and potential NBA shortcomings stem from his lack of speed or explosiveness.
He's going to have a difficult time playing defense; there's no way to sugarcoat it. Power forwards will be able to go up and over him with their explosiveness and length, and small forwards will be able to blow by him off the dribble.
On offense, Anderson won't be able to consistently beat his man, so he'll have to rely on size, hesitation moves and perimeter passing. He'll inevitably get the ball stripped a few times and get cut off when he thinks he has a lane to the hoop.
Lastly, he'll have to work on getting his shot off quicker. Right now, it's a slow, deliberate release, and his step-back jumpers are extremely slow.
Anderson has the handling skills and feel for the game required to make an immediate impact, but his playing time will largely depend on whether he can consistently drill shots and defend.
If his jumper has indeed improved, he would make a nice rotational piece. Anderson would be someone who comes in and keeps the offense flowing, and he would present matchup problems for opponents in many cases.
Anderson will work to find ways to minimize his deficiencies and use craftiness to score and create. If he's molded properly and utilized in the right role, he could be a standout and starter and might even flirt with stardom.
While being a star is on the upper end of his possible spectrum, at the very least, he'll be a key versatile asset.
Think along the lines of Boris Diaw, a below-average athlete who passes, rebounds and hits timely shots to stretch the defense. Anderson's game could look a lot like a (much) slower version of Lamar Odom.
When coaches figure out how to use him on defense and capitalize on his unique talents as a point forward, he'll stand out in the Association.