The San Antonio Spurs had the 30th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, and used it to select Kyle Anderson out of UCLA. San Antonio also traded the 58th and 60th picks for the rights to Nemanja Dangubic. Anderson is a 6’8″ combo forward with excellent passing skills, while Dangubic is a 6’8″ Serbian off-guard who plays in the Serbian League. Dangubic is unlikely to ever see the NBA, but he is exactly the type of Euro-stash prospect that the Spurs love.
Mar 27, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; UCLA Bruins guard/forward Kyle Anderson (5) drives to the basket defended by Dorian Finney-Smith (10) and Florida Gators forward Casey Prather (24) during the second half in the semifinals of the south regional of the 2014 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship tournament at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Anderson fell so far in the draft that the Spurs hadn’t even worked him out, and had only spoken to him twice before drafting him. Apparently, Anderson declined to work out for the Spurs, not because he didn’t want to play for them but because he expected to go much earlier. To be fair to him, most mocks had him going in the early 20s, so R.C. Buford and the Spurs were pleasantly surprised to see him available at 30.
Everyone’s immediate reaction to Kyle Anderson is to compare him to Boris Diaw. They are both really point guards in the body of a forward, but suffer from limited athleticism and shooting ability. Anderson is longer and a better shooter at this point in his career, but also is less athletic and needs to add a lot of strength. Assuming the Spurs resign “Cake Eater Diaw”, they have a ready made mentor for Anderson on the roster, who can help him grow and mature.
Mar 27, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; UCLA Bruins guard/forward Kyle Anderson (5) dribbles the ball in transition ahead of Florida Gators guard/forward DeVon Walker (25) during the first half in the semifinals of the south regional of the 2014 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship tournament at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
The biggest concerns for Anderson are if his shooting numbers this year are representative of his skills, and his slow-ness. After shooting 21.1% from three in his freshman year, he bumped that number up to 48.3% on almost two threes per game last season. His form looks decent, but he has a slow release which could hurt him at the NBA level. Also, Anderson is nicknamed SloMo for a reason – he just can’t move that fast. Offensively this means he can’t beat his man off the dribble very often, but usually he has a height advantage so there is less need.
Defensively, his lack of foot speed means Anderson is a liability on the perimeter, but he lacks the strength and size to play the four consistently. It will take some clever coaching to get the best out of him, but Popovich is the ideal option to do so.
While it is unlikely that Anderson helps out much this coming season, he has the potential and ability to be a key part of the PD (Post Duncan) era, along with Kawhi Leonard. His passing and versatility will definitely help him fit into the Spurs’ system down the road, and if he can prove that his shooting numbers from his sophomore season aren’t a fluke, he could be part of the rotation this year.
Quick conference call with Kyle Anderson. Needless to say, he’s pretty stoked.
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) June 27, 2014
Anderson also has an excellent twitter account (@kyleanderson5), and seems like he might have a bit of a chip on his shoulder after falling in the draft.
The Admiral! RT @DavidtheAdmiral: Kyle Anderson! Welcome to a great family! Most fortunate guy in 1st round.
— SLOWMO (@KyleAnderson5) June 27, 2014
There are reasons that Anderson fell to the 30th pick in the draft, but some of those include fit. He fits perfectly in San Antonio so in all likely hood they are getting value in the early 20s late teens range here. If he can be assimilated into the Spurs culture and schemes, this could be another steal for Buford, and if he flops, well, thats a risk you take with the last pick in the first round.