UCLA sophomore SF Kyle Anderson's stock has risen steadily over the course of the 2013-14 season. Largely considered a mid-to-late first round pick at the beginning of the year, his play down the stretch for the Bruins inspired discussions of Anderson as a high lottery pick among some draft experts. Rational thought seems to be that he's still slotted for the middle of the first round. Playing as a point forward this year, Anderson produced averages of 14.6 PPG, 8.8 RPG and 6.5 APG on .480/.483/.737 shooting. Anderson's 48.3 3P% can be a bit deceiving as he only attempted 58 threes this season. Anderson was only 8-28 from three as a freshman; the jury is still out as to what kind of perimeter shooter he is and can be.
Anderson is ranked 19th by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com and is slotted 20th by Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. He boasts a 7'2.5" wingspan according to his DraftExpress profile, which is superb length for a SF. That's about as far as the physical positives go for Anderson at this point as he doesn't have much strength or quickness and only claims a 33" vertical. On most scouting reports, these are the main downsides listed for Anderson. His physical limitations are cause for concern on the defensive end of the floor, and rightly so, as he will likely be burned off the dribble and in the post early and often in his career. Regardless of his physical constraints, Anderson should be an enticing prospect for the Pistons, whether it be at 8 or, preferably later in the first round if they were to trade down. His heady offensive game and elite passing ability for a SF would offer a major upgrade at that position on the offensive end of the floor for Detroit.
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KYLE ANDERSON - SF - 6'9, 230 - UCLA
Anderson had himself a solid night against Duke at Madison Square Garden in the video above. He showed superb court vision and control over the tempo that he plays the game at. In transition, Anderson took what was given to him and often made the easy pass or shot rather than creating tough looks. He finished the night with 15 points on 7-13 shooting to go with 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals. On the downside, Anderson was responsible for 6 turnovers of his own. The turnover problems were an issue all season, as Anderson's stellar 34.3 AST% was accompanied by a 19.1 TOV%. Cutting down on sloppy play will be one key to Anderson's growth in the NBA.
Anderson's shot chart offers a few pieces of knowledge about his game. First off, he's a pretty good finisher in the paint and at the basket. As you can see from his highlights against Duke, Anderson is good at finishing through contact despite his lack of strength. The other thing that sticks out about Anderson's shot selection is the distribution of his shot attempts. He relies heavily on shots from the right side of the court, and takes a relatively large sample of mid-range shots. This can be attributed to the way that UCLA used Anderson in their offense this year. While Anderson is listed as their SF, he often filled the role of PG, and ran a heavy amount of pick-and-roll action. As a right-handed player, his picks lead him that way, leading to a shot distribution that looks like his does.
Another effect of Anderson's role as a PNR ball-handler, is that he has a minimal sampling of looks from the corners. If the Pistons are willing to use Anderson to his strengths, and work him in the pick-and-roll, it could be very beneficial. Kyle Singler is a 48% shooter on corner threes, and Brandon Jennings is a career 38% shooter from the corners, a number which has taken a hit this year as less of his looks have been assisted. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is also a 38% shooter from the corners, a mark above his regular three point percentage. Anderson is a player who needs to be used appropriately when he's on the floor, as his game is not particularly versatile. He functions best with the ball in his hands at the top of the key with a screen to his right side. A system that allows Anderson to find Singler, KCP and Jennings in the corners could boost the Pistons' offensive efficiency.
Assuming the Pistons pick 8th in this year's draft, Anderson doesn't figure to provide great value for that pick. However, if the Pistons were to trade down (if Chicago has 16 & 19, Phoenix has 14 & 17), Anderson would be an adequate selection in the late lottery to mid-first round. At that point, gaining the extra selection would mitigate the risk of taking a player with the holes in his game that Anderson has. If he can bulk up and shoot the three well enough to keep defenders honest in the pick-and-roll, Anderson could prove to be a valuable starter at SF, something the Pistons haven't had in a few years now.