Draft Profile: Justin Anderson, 6'7, SF, 230 lbs., Junior, Virginia

Draft Profile: Justin Anderson, 6'7, SF, 230 lbs., Junior, Virginia

Overview

Athletic player that showed promise this year from three-point range. Was groomed in a good defensive system in Virginia. Possible elite 3 & D guy.

Athletically

For the longest time, Anderson’s calling card to the NBA was his athletic ability. Anderson is a great athlete vertically and shows great speed and lateral quickness when not standing to upright.

Size

Height-wise, Anderson is probably average for the small forward position and above average for the shooting guard position. However, Anderson has a great, muscular build in which he is going to be able to body up opponents whether chasing someone off a screen, bodying up an opposing slasher, or defending the post as many players are not going to be able to back him down. Anderson also possesses an above average wing-span at over 6’11. His greatest strength besides his athletic ability is his build.

Basketball IQ

Overall, I think Anderson rushes many decisions. While I don’t think he is lacking in basketball IQ, I don’t know if I see someone that will ever possess an above average basketball IQ.

Skill

Until this year, Anderson’s calling card was his athletic ability at the small forward position with defensive ability. This year, Anderson added a 3 point shot until he got injured.

While Anderson’s 3 point shot improved to where he can be considered a first round pick, he is not a natural shooter like most coming in the NBA are. Is Anderson really an elite shooter, a streaky shooter, or was this season a fluke? Anderson started off hot from 3, got injured, and then really struggled to re-identify his shot coming back late into the season. If Anderson is not an elite shooter, his ceiling is that of a Dahntay Jones.

Defensively, Anderson is a very solid defender with the potential to be more. He is able to guide his opponent off their pathways and many post players will not be able to back him down due to his build. He plays position defense as does most of Virginia.

While Anderson is a safe player in this draft, he is not good at many tasks. He cannot take opponents off the dribble as his handles are rushed offensively. Is his shot consistent enough to be a threat or was his shot an exaggeration this year? Defensively, while solid, he can be beat off the dribble as while he is a freak athlete, he guards too mechanically and upright and can be beaten because of that. While he is not basketball dumb, I don’t know if he will ever be a basketball stalwart.

Overall

Overall, I think Anderson has the potential to be a contributor at the next level as long as he can continue to develop his 3 point shot, and focus on being a 3-and-D guy with opportunistic slashing when called upon. The adjustment for Anderson will being able to develop a consistent 3 point shot and not relying on being a slasher as I don’t feel his ball-handling is adequate enough to be a scorer at the next level.

Anderson also seems to be one that consistently plays hard and if interviews and intel show, he seems like he is a player that can be a team player to max out his role for the right team. I just don’t see star potential (despite elite athleticism), but I see good role-player potential

Fit with Bulls

It depends on who is available and if I think the Bulls should draft Anderson. If someone like Delon Wright is available, I’m going with Wright as I feel he can be a more impactful player at a position of need. However, I would not be disappointed in drafting Anderson either even though we have young wings. At pick 22, I just want to find a contributor and I feel he can be that. Anderson helps with the athleticism that we are solely in need of. My biggest concerns with the Bulls though is that they usually like to play players with high basketball IQ’s and while he is not the worst, I don’t know if I see him standing out enough to get playing time.

Overall, I would lend myself to drafting a few players over Anderson, but assuming those players are gone, have no problem drafting Anderson either. He has the potential to be a great role player with elite athletic ability. The biggest questions with him are going to be can he develop a consistent 3 point shot and can he be an elite defender? At this point, the Bulls need another wing alongside Butler to be a threat offensively with the ball and from 3 while being solid defensively while developing Snell and McDermott. While Anderson will be solid, will he, Snell, or McDermott be good enough to be a starter for a team with championship aspirations? I don’t know if I can say right now he is impactful enough right now. Not a bad player, but the Bulls need an impact player besides Butler at the wing-position. For that reason, I would rather take a risk on someone with impact as mentioned such as Wright.

Comments

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  • Kevin, I like Anderson a lot and at one time I wanted the Bulls to draft him. But lately I am leaning towards Delon Wright. If Anderson was clearly the better player then I would go with him. But I don't think he is.

    The Bulls need a back-up point guard with length who can guard the taller point guards in the league. Wright can do that as well as guarding twos. Plus his shooting appears to have gotten better.

    I thought Rose was a mediocre defender last year and Hinrich belongs on a leash. This is an area of need and we can meet this at #22.

    I also expressed a desire for the Bulls to draft Upshaw as we also need to develop a young center. But I now agree with those who have argued that it is bad idea to gamble a first round pick on him.

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    Pass! Every year there's these guys in the draft who are so used to jumping out of the gym athletically that they fail to meet the essential skills requirements needed to make it in the NBA.
    If his ball handling is weak, and his outside shooting is weak then he's not much of a prospect as a wing. He seems a lot like Jimmy Butler coming out of Marquette, but Jimmy was fortunate enough to play in a defensive coached system, while spending off season working on his offensive game. Maybe Anderson will be that lucky too, but he's not for the Bulls imo. Not with management leaning towards more offensive minded players.

  • Good review. Once again when you have a player with low production numbers in rebounds, steals, and most notably scoring, it lowers the likelihood that a guy like Justin Anderson will translate to the NBA. I watched him a little. Of course high motor, no character issues, and excellent athleticism and quickness will always draw interest. I'd likely have to pass on Anderson.

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