Name: Kyle Anderson
Position: Small Forward
Height: 6’8.5″ (with shoes)
Weight: 230 pounds
Anderson played point guard primarily during his time at UCLA, which makes him one of the more unique prospects in the draft pool. He obviously has unbelievable size for a point guard, though he projects as more of a wing at the next level. Other than his size, his best asset is clearly his excellent passing ability. He can handle extremely well with both hands, and delivers passes with extreme accuracy, which seems to be a rather under-appreciated skill. His creativity as a playmaker really stands out. He improved his shooting greatly from his freshman to his sophomore season, upping his three-point percentage from 21% to 48%. However, the sample size (he attempted just 58 threes) likely isn’t large enough to discern whether or not the improvement was really that dramatic. His high release point on his jump shot makes him difficult to block.
Defensively, his size is so that he can guard anyone from a point guard to a power forward. His tremendous wingspan helps to throw-off offensive players, and he’s got a knack for tipping passes and getting steals.
Anderson is slow. His shot release is slow, he’s not explosive with the ball, and he’s not been very good in transition offense situations. He’s really going to struggle to bl0w-by defenders at the NBA level, and his vertical isn’t very impressive. His size was really his biggest asset as a college player, and that’s an advantage he won’t have as often in the pros, particularly if he translates as a small forward. On his drives to the basket it literally looks like he’s moving in slow motion. He finished well, but the lack of athleticism may negatively impact his ability to do so at the rim in the NBA. He’d rather lay the ball in than dunk it, which probably means he’ll be getting swatted quite a bit.
He turned the ball over a ton at UCLA, but a lot of that may have to do with how often the ball was in his hands. If he’s not playing point guard in the NBA, the turnover rate isn’t as much of a concern.
There’s plenty to like about Anderson, but the question marks about him are tough to ignore. He’s most often compared to the Pacers’ Evan Turner, another below-average athlete with good size whose game was founded on playmaking ability. Turner has become an okay role player in the NBA, though he’s nowhere close to a star. If Anderson doesn’t pan-out to much, it’s likely going to be due to his lack of explosiveness. He could barely get by his defenders in college, which doesn’t bode well for his chances of being able to do so against NBA-caliber defenders. If he’s going to succeed, the prevailing thought is that he’s going to have to change his game. If he can become a reliable spot-up shooter, he’s got a chance. It also wouldn’t hurt him to develop some sort of offensive post game to further take advantage of his height and length. Most mock drafts have Anderson going somewhere in the mid-to-late first round.