The San Antonio Spurs did a very San Antonio Spurs-ian thing by selecting Kyle Anderson 30th overall.
Anderson is one of the most polarizing prospects to come out of the NCAA in a long time. Some people love him, others hate him. Fred Katz articulated the Anderson conundrum well in his piece about how stats don’t always tell the tale for NBA prospects earlier this week. Basically, Anderson was always going to be extremely dependent on the system that he went to. He needs a coach that can get him the ball in creative ways in order to take advantage of his unique skill set, and one that can take advantage of his length on defense.
I’m pretty sure that Gregg Popovich qualifies.
Personally, I’m quite a fan of Anderson, and I think this is a match made in heaven. There is probably not a better passer in this draft. Anderson is one of those guys that just sees the floor differently from others. He’s almost constantly on the lookout for guys flashing to the rim or open kick outs. Never afraid to make the extra pass, he’ll fit in absolutely perfectly with the Spurs system. Anderson also improved his jump shot this season after it was a disaster his freshman season. He only took 58 three-pointers this season, but he converted 48% of them and displayed much improved balance and mechanics. His release is still slow, but it seems likely that he could develop into a threat from beyond the three point line.
Obviously, there are some problems. He’s probably the least athletic player in this draft. The nickname “Slow-Mo has been bestowed upon him by those who don’t love the slow developing nature of his game. Unfortunately, that lack of athleticism will probably bear itself out most as he attempts to guard the perimeter in the NBA. He has excellent size and length for an NBA 3, at nearly 6’9 with a 7’3 wingspan. He’s also 230 lbs already with 13.4 body fat, meaning that despite his skinny frame he might have a shot to defend 4s eventually.
This is the exact type of place Anderson needed to go. The Spurs found a way to utilize Boris Diaw this season, and will most likely be able to find a spot for Anderson. If Diaw decides to chase money elsewhere, Anderson could probably at least replace his offensive skill at a fraction of the cost. The defense will always be the question. If he can find a niche defensively like Diaw did, there is a strong chance that he can become a useful point forward in the future.