- Measurables: 6-foot-9, 230 lbs, sophomore forward from UCLA
- Key Stats: 14.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 3.1 turnovers, 1.8 steals per game, 48 FG%, 48 3pt% and 74 FT%
- Projected: Mid first round
Matters to No One But Me …
Anyone who has been a longtime reader of Draft Dreams over the last five years knows that I’m a sucker for the ‘too productive to ignore’ players in the draft, who don’t necessarily have prototypical positions or athleticism or height or whatever other measurable you want to throw out there, but they make themselves prospects nonetheless by being insanely productive. Kyle Anderson appears to be one of those players:
The chip comes from critics — some real, some perceived.
His gangly 6-foot-9 frame and stop-motion style were said to be ill-suited for major-college basketball and surely for the NBA.
“People doubt me all the time because maybe I’m too slow, maybe I’m not athletically gifted,” Anderson said. “I look forward to proving them wrong.”
Anderson might join my list of Reggie Jackson, Draymond Green and Trey Burke as my yearly favorite unfairly criticized prospect who falls too far in the draft.
Fits with the Pistons because …
Anderson is a wing with good size who hit 48 percent of his threes last year. He’s a skilled passer, plays intelligently and is a great rebounder, especially for a perimeter player. All of those qualities fill obvious needs for the Pistons.
Anderson would step into the lineup and immediately become a candidate to be the best shooter on the team and possibly the best passer (although Brandon Jennings, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith all have their moments of being good passers too). If the Pistons started him at small forward, they would still have the advantage of putting a really large frontcourt on the floor, but wouldn’t have to play someone out of position to do it. The offense could run through Anderson at times, his shooting could provide better spacing and, at 6-foot-9, he’d still create the mismatches defensively that the Pistons hoped a Smith-Monroe-Drummond combination would. Or, if that trio returns next season, the Pistons could just go even harder with the super-sized group and play Anderson at shooting guard.
Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …
Although he has the length and basketball IQ to theoretically play good defense, he is not yet a good defender. He lacks the strength and athleticism that many NBA wings possess, so it will be asking a lot to assume he could come in and handle starters minutes against most starting NBA small forwards.
It’s also unclear if he can maintain that high 3-point shooting mark. He had a drastic improvement from his freshman to sophomore season — 21 percent to 48 percent — and that’s a good sign. But he has still only attempted 96 threes over two seasons, so it’s probably premature to assume he’s going to be an elite marksman in the NBA.
From the Experts
Anderson is a unique player in the draft. He’s a point power forward who excels when the ball is in his hands. He’s got a huge wingspan, is an improved shooter and can rebound. But he’ll fit on only some teams and is going to struggle defensively. He probably has the widest range of any player on our Big Board; he could go anywhere from 10 to 35.
What makes Anderson truly special is his prodigious passing ability, which made him one of the most entertaining players to watch in all of college basketball. He led all prospects in our Top-100 rankings in assists at 7.4 per-40 minutes pace adjusted, the highest rate of any player that size in our database since Evan Turner, Luke Walton, and John Salmons. Anderson is a terrific ball-handler who can pass with either hand and shows amazing creativity with the ball in his hands. He is extremely unselfish, making pinpoint passes right into his teammates’ shooting pocket, spotting up on the wing or running ahead in transition (see video below). Anderson had the fourth highest Pure Point Rating and fifth highest assist to turnover of any player in our Top-100 prospect rankings, and was a major reason why UCLA had the 13th most efficient offense in all of college basketball this season with him running the show.
- Jabari Parker
- Devyn Marble
- Nik Stauskas
- Marcus Smart
- Rodney Hood
- Patric Young
- Joel Embiid
- Zach LaVine
- Aaron Craft