Athletically, Anderson is going to be slightly below average for any position. In fact, Anderson has an old-school game that is slow-man ball. Defensively, Anderson is probably going to struggle if facing opposing small-forwards because they are too quick. If Anderson is able to add about 15 pounds to his frame, then he might be better suited to guard opposing power forwards and would be a nightmare for opposing power forwards to defend. He's a very smart player and might be able to mask his athletic weaknesses.
At the small forward position, Anderson is slightly above average in height at 6’9, and is not rail thin. Stating that, Anderson must work on fine-tuning his body to a frame ready to take on the rigors of the NBA. His best position for the future might be power forward, but he needs to add plenty of good weight to fit in there.
Anderson might have the best basketball IQ in this draft. While skilled, how many 6’9 forwards can get almost 7 assists a game, run a team, rebound, set up many hockey style assists, get deflections, and read opposing teams? Because of Anderson’s skill level and basketball IQ, I have no qualms that he will be a successful player at the next level.
Skill-wise, Anderson’s best ability is being a point forward and seeing over opponents. Anderson while a below average athlete, is able to get to the lane by knowing how to use angles, using different speeds, hesitation dribbles, and great court awareness.
Also, Anderson does well in the mid-range area where he pass, put the ball on the floor, shoot, or make a crafty move to the basket. While not utilized often, he improved his three point shot to near 48% after shooting only 21% his freshman year. At 6’9, Anderson averaged near 7 assists a game displays impressive court vision.
Defensively, Anderson really struggles due to lack of quickness in guarding the perimeter. Anderson will likely get blown by opposing small forwards. UCLA also displayed a zone several times this year which will mean he will have an adjustment period in guarding man-to-man.
That said, Anderson is also a very smart player with a 7’2 wingspan. Anderson did well with averaging nearly 2 steals a game, forces players to take weird angels, and has good defensive anticipation.
Anderson also has deficiencies offensively. While a very savvy player, he averaged around 3 turnovers a game. He'll have to adjust to not being a ball dominant player in the NBA and his slo-mo style may not translate as well, especially in a different role.
I’ve struggled piecing together a great comparison for Kyle Anderson as there can be a little Hedo Turkoglu, Toni Kukoc, Lamar Odom, Boris Diaw, but the best comparison I can think of at his max is Jalen Rose without the ball-chucking and maybe a little more of a ball distributor. At this point, Anderson could go anywhere as high as pick 8 or 9 or slide all the way to early 20’s.
How does he fit with the Bulls?
While Anderson does not provide the defense that a Coach Thibs team might need, this guy can flat out play. His game is that of a slow-motion, but Anderson is not a total stiff out there. To me Anderson might have to adjust to being played by NBA small-forwards and athletes, but he usually is a step ahead of the game.
Because of his playmaking ability and the Bulls need of some more playmakers, I would be more than thrilled to have Anderson on our roster. I am very intrigued by Anderson at pick 16 and would love to draft him if Gary Harris is off board or someone else does not slide down from top 10.
Overall, I think any team that drafts Anderson will have to mask some of his defensive defencies. However, Anderson is such an unique talent and a very versatile player with a high basketball IQ, that I feel he is going to be one of the top 8 or 9 players in this draft. The guy has a game that can create for others, understand where others need to be, and his shotmaking and jump-shot has immensely improved.
Anderson’s style will likely fit many teams, but to me he screams a playoff basketball type player. Meaning Anderson just has a flair for the dramatic, but also such a high basketball IQ in that he will do many little things that win big games. I feel Anderson’s game initially will be fit for coming off the bench and running a second unit. I do feel Anderson will be a very solid player with a chance to be a good player for a long-time.