As I wrote at the beginning of the NCAA tournament, based on stats alone, Kyle Anderson would be a top 5 pick in the draft. He fills a stat sheet like a young Scottie Pippen, is 6’8 with a wingspan of nearly 7’3, handles the ball and passes like a point guard (which he played almost exclusively), and shot an impressive 48.3% from the three point line this year. But Anderson does have his weaknesses.

Anderson is below athletically, has trouble beating his man off the dribble and turns the ball over at a very high rate. And while he shot the ball well, this season, his release is almost painfully slow, which obviously worked in college, but probably won’t in the NBA.

That’s one of the big questions about Anderson. How will his skills translate to the NBA? In college, he was able to make up for his lack of athleticism and slow shot release with his great size. In the NBA, where players are longer and quicker, that’s not going to work. Watch these highlights from one of his better games this past season.

All his skills are on display, but so are his weaknesses. When he gets into the lane, the only reason he’s able to get his shot off is because he’s usually taller than the man defending him. That’s not going to be the case in the NBA. He often looks like he’s going in slow motion when he drives to the hoop. And while he’s played point guard his entire career, he’s projected as a small forward for the NBA because he simply wouldn’t be able to defend even the slowest point guards at the NBA level.

Speaking of defense, he does use his length to disrupt the passing lanes and block some shots, but he has such poor lateral quickness he gets killed defending on the perimeter, even at the college level, and despite weighing 230 lbs is actually pretty weak defending the post.

Normally, this would definitely be enough to turn off most teams, but what intrigues me about Anderson is that he has never appeared as thought he’s ever been in very good shape. In fact, at the recent NBA Draft Combine, Anderson’s body fat was measured at 13.4%, which is good for an average person, but not for a professional athlete.

In this way, Anderson reminds me of another UCLA alumni, Kevin Love. Love displayed below average athleticism in college, and there were a lot of questions about whether he would be able to finish over big, more athletic players in the NBA. And his body fat was measured at 12.9, only slightly better than Anderson.

After declaring for the draft, Love lost weight, improved his conditioning, athleticism and strength and is now one of the best players in the league.

Anderson doesn’t have Love’s potential, and Love displayed a hustle and passion that certainly helped him reshape his body, but if Anderson dedicates himself to improving his body, he could end up surprising many on the next level.

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Anderson isn’t guaranteed to be available at 20, as he’s projected as high as 17, but most mock drafts have him going after 20, at this point. And it’s difficult to see the Bulls or Phoenix drafting him (who hold 3 of the 4 spots before the Raptors).

If he’s available, he would be a good fit for the Raptors. He’s obviously not athletic, but his cerebral and unselfish game would compliment a starting unit that doesn’t always make the best decisions on the court. His presence would allow Kyle Lowry (if re-signed) to focus a little more on scoring, and would take away much of the ball handling duties of DeMar DeRozan.

Sharing the wing position with DeRozan would cause defensive problems, though, as neither are even average at stopping their man on defense.

Unfortunately the perfect solution isn’t likely to be available at 20 (otherwise they would go higher), so Anderson might be a good gamble for the Raptors to take. Ideally, Anderson would be paired with a shoot-first point guard that would allow him to run the offense and not have to run after the smaller, quicker point guards on defense.

  • sleepz

    Not as physical or a 4 as Love is so I can’t see the comparison outside of the body fat.

    Anderson is a heady ball player but his lack of athleticism is troubling and will make things difficult for him in the league.

    Like his teammates (Lavine, Adams) better in this draft.

  • Mark A

    a young primoz brezec

  • caccia

    Sorry, he moves like an elephant.

    • ibleedpurple

      That was Gold. He moves like Vasquez after smoking a massive joint.

  • RaptorFan

    Boy does he appear slow. Wouldn’t It make more sense to bring back Vasquez instead of taking a risk like this on a similar player? I honestly would prefer Lavine over Anderson and this is just from see a few highlights and reading a few articles.

  • Tom Liston

    Tim, excellent analysis. At the 20th pick, you will usually get a player with a few significant weaknesses as you point out. But at that pick, if you can acquire someone of Kyle’s caliber its a no brainer. Check this out:

    https://twitter.com/StatsMan/status/468883638109880321

  • JP

    I think he can become a decent pro especially if he loses some fat and tones his body. Shooting translates to the NBA regardless of your form and you can’t teach court vision. Slide him next to 2 hard working players like kyle and demar and they’ll wip him into shape.

    • OakTree

      Yeah, DD and Amir both work out in LA during the summer. That’s two real hard working pros to take him under their wing.

      I think he’d be a great fit here in the long run, though year 1 might be painful.

  • asifyouknow

    230 lb ..yes this is the guy to replace Ross..?

    • ac1011990

      Why do you want to replace Ross?

      • asifyouknow

        Just asking where. Will he play

        • OakTree

          The Raptors need someone that can play 3/4 in an 8 man rotation. That is, if Lowry, GV and PP all come back.

          Last year it was Salmons, next year it won’t be.

          We’re not drafting a starter at 20.

    • jjdynomite

      Yes, a 230lb pylon. Figured you’d like him since his comp on the Raptors is GV. Watch Anderson get his slow release blocked by quicker SG/SFs in the Eastern Conference, like LeBron, George… and Ross if he was on another team.

      • asifyouknow

        See you forgot to read again…lol…NOWHERE did I say I like the guy or not. I was asking is he Ross’s replacement or where would he play…lol …you always misunderstand me…

  • ZQ

    Plays like a slightly less beefy, younger version of Boris Diaw
    Not comprable to Pippen lol, as he was an athletic freak from the start

  • Mexiballer

    Slow, slow and slow.

  • ThePurpAndRed

    This guy has the slowest release Ive ever seen on a pro, and his game looks like Josh Childress and I don’t mean that as a compliment. I would definitely see this guy translating horribly to the speed of NBA defenders closing out on him.

  • dunkmycat7

    Stop it. this guy is terrible…got everything we don’t need and nothing we need.
    His release is slower than Amir’s 3 pointers and his is ridiculous. IMO -This guy gets kilt in the NBA.
    But- forget what I think, I believe Masai is dedicated to getting the most athletic players above all and esp @ 20 where the Raps will most likely have to draft the BPA rather than a specific position need.
    Which once again emphasizes the best strategy in this draft is to trade up or use this pick as part of a trade to get the players we REALLY need….unless someone unexpectedly drops to 20 ..and then the question would be – WHY ?
    I have not seen ANYONE @ 20 that helps us NOW and sorry but we should not do “PROJECTS” anymore. Too far along the curve to regress to that strategy.