The Case for Kyle Anderson (UCLA)



Kyle Anderson is projected to go early 2nd round, maybe late 1st round by most mock drafts. I'm sure those will still shift a bit between now and June. Anderson is a 6'8.5" wing/point-forward with 7'2" wingspan, and I believe is comfortably cruising under the radar as teammates like Zach LaVine and Jordan Adams are projected to be top 20 first rounders. So here's what Anderson has done so far this season:

He's averaging 15.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.8 steals, and 0.9 blocks to go with 1.5 PF's and 3.0 turnovers in about 32 minutes per game. Anderson is shooting 52.3% FG, 48% 3P (0.8-1.7), 74.7% FT (5.0 FTA per game). In 15 games so far this season, he's had 8 double-doubles, and 1 triple-double which hadn't been done at UCLA in decades.

The best part about his game though is how well he does even against good defensive teams. For example, against # 8 ranked Duke, which easily beat UCLA 80-63 (Jabari went 4-8 3P), Anderson accumulated 15 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals, 1 PF, but 6 turnovers. He shot 7-13 from the field. 1-3 from the arc. A better example though is probably his recent game against # 1 ranked undefeated Arizona, where they lost by only 5 points. Anderson had 16 points (6-15 FG, 0-1 3P, 4-6 FT), 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 4 PF, 4 TOV. Most importantly though, and he probably had a little help from the ref's, Anderson kept Aaron Gordon out of the game at key times late in the 2nd half when UCLA was building a comeback, at times due to his ability to draw fouls, getting off shots in the paint and getting to the free-throw line. Aaron Gordon had 4 fouls. Certainly Anderson is not as explosive as Aaron Gordon who I think is the better athlete, but Anderson makes up in his ability to influence the pace and outcome of the game. UCLA is 12-3 so far, with losses only to Duke, Arizona, and Missouri. I almost forgot, but Anderson also scored 23 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and dished out 5 assists and 1 block as UCLA built up their lead in a dominating 107 - 73 win over USC. Anderson shot 10-14, so 23 points on 14 FGA's.

With Utah having 3 picks this draft, which contains many talented wings, I could see Utah nabbing him either with their GS pick or their early second round pick if Lindsay doesn't package any of them to move up. Of course, if Utah picks up a wing and Anderson is not the BPA late in the first round or even early 2nd round, I guess I could see DL going another way. If Utah goes big with their top pick (Embiid, Randle?), I think Anderson would be a good late first-round pick and definitely a steal as an early 2nd-rounder. He could either start along Hayward, allowing Hayward to play more as a pure shooter/slasher as Burke and Anderson take up more of the ball handling, or come off the bench. With 9'0" standing reach, Anderson's passing and rebounding is able to operate outside the reach of many wings. He also does well in the open court as his length and ball-handling skills allow him to be a big play maker and finisher.

There aren't any scouting videos other than some high school games, but here's a good one of him training and shooting before entering UCLA. I guess Anderson was the # 1 ranked prep point guard in the nation his senior year of high school.

This is actually a better video showcasing Anderson's various skills including passing, driving, finishing, shooting, rebounding, and overall making plays at both ends of the court (in one exchange, he deflects a base-line shot that barely hits the rim, gathers the out-let pass, and then assists a teammate for an alley-oop dunk at the other end). There are *4* nice examples of Anderson scoring on Jabari Parker, each time finishing over him (3 in the paint, and 1 three-pointer that Anderson buries right in Parker's eye). In case Utah can't draft Parker, it might be nice to have a guy who has proven scoring ability against Parker. Anderson has the ability to drive into the lane but then hang in the air and have a high release point with his length, getting himself high percentage shots.

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.