I have a fascination with tall players who have the ball handling skills and court vision capabilities of a point guard. Versatility and having a skill set that isn’t usually seen in a player of a certain height gets me excited. Doing things that aren’t typically done by someone of a certain body type (or position), being different and unique – those are the qualities in a player I, as a fan, look for. It should therefore then comes as no surprise, that out of all in the players in the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft, Kyle Anderson fascinates me the most.
He is a point guard trapped in a 6’9’’ forwards body. He is unselfish and, as evident by the fact he averaged 6.6 assists per game last season (which translated to 7.9 per 40 minutes –the best among any position in his class likely to get drafted according to Sactown Royalty), he is arguably the best player in the draft at finding and setting his teammates up to score. And it’s not just his passing ability that is great, it’s also his rebounding. From Sactown Royalty:
"His 25.5% defensive rebounding rate was better than many power forward/centers in the class; better than Julius Randle (24.7%), Aaron Gordon (19.3%) and Doug McDermott (17.8%)."Also, while not a knockdown shooter, he is ever improving (as evident by the fact he went from shooting 41.6% from the floor his freshman year to 48% last season).
In the ever-evolving modern NBA, it is clear that the more capable ball handlers you have on the floor the better – and the more capable ball handlers who can setup their teammates effectively the better also. So, as it appears, Kyle Anderson seems to be a sure thing in the modern NBA. However, as his nickname of ‘Slo-Mo’ suggests, he does have some glaring issues in the athleticism department that have some scouts thinking he will be out of the league in a few years.
So which way is it? His drawback is that he isn’t very athletic. He is, as his nickname suggests, slow. And despite having a 7’2’’ wingspan, is a defensive liability. That said, I think, if put in the right scheme, his liabilities could be masked (like were he playing behind a rim protector by the name of Gorgui Dieng). Also, despite his shooting improvements, he has a slow release that some scouts are dubious of (especially in regards to it translating successfully into the NBA, given how much faster the game is compared to college).
Despite these concerns, as I stated earlier, I have a soft spot for a guy like Anderson. The kid is a point forward at heart. And he brings great versatility to the court, and considering how much of a non-facilitator Shabazz is, having two guys who can spread the ball around the floor effectively in Rubio and Anderson does seem appealing on the offensive end (and as the Spurs showed in the Finals, there’s no such thing as putting too many guys who know how to distribute the ball well on the court). If you ask me, a future backcourt of Rubio, Shabazz and Anderson sounds nice and it would go a long way in the inevitable rebuild that is likely to start once Love is traded. Also, in case you haven't been able to tell by now, I simply have a thing for players like Anderson - and thus I would be thrilled if the T-Wolves drafted him.
Up next we take a look at Adreian Payne, a stretch four the Wolves could use, considering they’re more than likely losing the best stretch four in the game soon.