We're two days away from the 2014 NBA Draft and rumors are rampant, but behind the scenes final draft boards are being established. One player that has received mixed reviews is UCLA sophomore Kyle Anderson.
In college, Anderson played point guard, but he projects as a power forward in the NBA. At 6-foot-9 with an 86.5-inch wingspan, he has ideal size for the position, but it's unique passing skills that give him potential as a "point forward." After reportedly impressing the Boston Celtics during his June 3rd workout with the team, he could be in consideration for the 17th pick in the draft.
So, why is Anderson drawing interest from the Celtics? To preview my 2014 NBA Draft Guide, here is my full scouting report of "Slow-Mo."
The full guide is available with 60 player profiles just like this; if you'd like to name your price and purchase the guide: click here or click the image to the right to find out more details. If the words on the image below are difficult to read, then click the scouting report itself to bring it into full screen mode.
What Others Are Saying
"[Anderson] may be the single hardest guy for me to get my arms around right now. Some NBA scouts love him. I mean, really love him. Others don't like him at all. He's a very unique player. He won't fit on every team and it will ultimately come down to having a coach that believes in what he can, is willing to put the basketball in his hands and let him be who is -- a 6-9 point guard. If a team tries to turn him into something else, I think they'll be very disappointed. I think he goes somewhere between 10-35. That's the widest range I have for any player in the draft." - ESPN's Chad Ford
Kyle Anderson on his own game: "It's just the way I've always played the game. I like to move at my speed and I like to control my game. I've just always played the game with my mind."
How Can Boston Draft Anderson?
They could easily select Slow-Mo right at #17 if they feel comfortable picking him there. However, his draft stock is all over the place. He could realistically get picked in the late lottery, but he could also fall all the way to the back of the first round. That places Boston smack in the middle of his draft range, which is where I personally think he'll be picked. Teams like Boston, Chicago, and Phoenix are all perfect fits for him.
Why Would Boston Draft Anderson?
- System Fit: Anderson is an absolutely perfect fit for the motion offense because of his ability to pass the ball at a high level from the forward position. With excellent passing instincts and arguably the highest basketball IQ in the draft, Anderson could make a huge impact as a point forward. In Brad Stevens' motion offense, that is a major plus when assembling a team. Not to mention that he is a fantastic spot up shooter and will immediately be able to spread the floor in the NBA.
- Instincts: With a natural feel for the game, Anderson projects as someone that will be able to make an impact even if he isn't scoring. As a solid rebounder, he has the potential of being able to push the tempo by running the break or making a quick and accurate outlet pass. Offensively, Anderson might have the nickname of "Slow-Mo" for his unhurried style of play, but he's so good at making quick decisions, so the team should be able to run their sets seamlessly with him on the floor.
- Pick-and-Roll: Creating mismatches in the pick-and-roll is an ideal play result for every NBA offenses, and Anderson can present that skill because of his ball handling ability and size. While he currently has a lanky frame, he could very well add strength, making him a matchup nightmare for opponents. If he's the screener in the pick-and-roll, he could be switched onto smaller guards, giving him the ability to overpower them, but if he's the ball handler he automatically brings two bigs away from the rim, opening up even more passing lanes for himself.
Should Boston Draft Anderson?
Call it a cop out answer to my own question, but I'd respond with a "maybe." Truly, it depends on which other players are on the board and who the pick is at #6. I think selecting Kyle Anderson would be a quality pick since, on paper, he's a perfect fit for the offense. Outside of Dario Saric, there is no other projected first round prospect with this type of skillset, as it's very rare for forwards to possess such advanced playmaking abilities.
However, the Celtics may have better options at that spot considering the amount of talent in this year's draft. Not to mention that there are so many variables to consider in terms of players that could or could not be traded before or during draft night. I think Anderson should strongly be considered, but he's the type of pick that could signal impeding transactions considering the logjam at the forward position.
I don't think Kyle Anderson will fall to the late 20s of the first round like some other draft evaluators do, but if he does, then Danny Ainge should immediately pick up the phone and try to acquire a pick. He presents far too much value at that spot, especially considering the amount of success we saw an aging Boris Diaw have in San Antonio's offense. After all, Brad Stevens desires that type of offense and Anderson could be an important piece of the puzzle.