San Antonio Spurs select Kyle Anderson, Point Forward From UCLA

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With the 30th pick in the NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs selected Kyle Anderson out of UCLA. Anderson is a 6’9″ forward who actually ran point at UCLA the last couple of years. He averaged 14.6 points, 6.5 assists and 8.8 rebounds per game. He’s probably the smartest player in the draft, but also could be the least athletic.

Long story short, Anderson should be able to contribute to the Spurs almost immediately because of his intelligence and improved shooting ability. At 6’9″, he has a really high release on this jump shot which makes it hard to block. He didn’t shoot a ton of three-pointers last season, but made 48 percent of the ones he took. The court vision is his biggest strength, and he also has the ability to play multiple positions offensively. Anywhere from point guard to power forward in stretches.

Where the Spurs will need to figure some things out is defensively. Anderson just isn’t athletic enough to stay in front of the more athletic wings in the league. But, he’s smart enough he should be able to figure out angles and play passing lanes thanks to his monstrous 7’3″ wing span. He needs to get stronger to defend power forwards, but that’s something the Spurs staff will help him with. I wrote a lot more about Anderson earlier in the season when I watched him go head-to-head with Aaron Gordon and the rest of Arizona’s ultra athletic front line.

The other thing I like about Anderson is he understands his strengths and weaknesses. He doesn’t try to things he can’t athletically and uses his head when he’s on the court. He’s embraced his lack of athleticism to the point his nickname is Slo-Mo and he’s even made it his name on his Twitter bio.

The Spurs second round went exactly like you expect a Spurs second round to go. The Spurs had two picks due to a trade with the Clippers half a decade ago. They then traded both of those picks in exchange for a European prospect. That prospect is Nemanja Dangubic, a member of Mega Vizura, which is based in Belgrade, Serbia. Admittedly, I don’t know a ton about Dangubic, but according to DraftExpress, he’s a 21-year-old, 6’8″ shooting guard who is defensive minded, likes to attack the basket but needs to work on his shot and get bigger. The site also notes he grew two inches over the past year, so he’s obviously still growing into his body. Dangubic recently participated in the Adidas EuroCamp where he struggled as a primary ball handler and excelled off the ball. Still, he played well enough he picked up camp MVP honors. I haven’t figured out what his buyout situation is, but it’s safe to say he’s at least two years from coming to the NBA. Oh, and he can get up.

Dangubic was originally selected 54th by the Philadelphia 76ers and then traded to the Spurs for the 58th and 60th picks. The 60th pick was then flipped to Brooklyn.

  • Ryan McShane

    I love both of the picks. Anderson will be another nice “swiss army knife” for the Spurs.

  • Joe

    So we have to see a Slo-Mo and Bobo lineup then, right?

  • Melbourne Spur

    Hopefully he’s more Cadillac than James for the Spurs, if you know what I mean.

  • Larry Tang

    The main concern for me is how slow his release is. That will turn a lot of open threes into contested ones. Hope Chip can help him with those mechanics.

  • GoSpursGo

    Every player has a set of skills, shooting, passing, athleticism, one on one scoring, etc. Kyle Anderson is not a balanced player. He is very high in passing, and very low in athleticism. Spurs system was built around taking other teams flawed players and finding the right role for them. But it is based on the idea of passing. I think the Anderson is a steal,not because I think that he is a lottery pick in terms of ability, but in terms of the fact that he could have lottery pick impact in the Spurs system. With Manu wearing down, we need another disruptive passer on the floor for when Diaw is not in the game.

  • GoSpursGo

    I would have gone with Willie myself.

  • GoSpursGo

    COnsider the matchups, though. If you have a 4closing out at you, they are usually not very quick. Plus, he has the ability to put the ball on the ground or make the good pass. If he is playing 1, 2, 0r 3, he should have the height to get his shot off.

  • Riotsmoke

    I totally agree. One of the best things I love about Anderson is his basketball IQ. You can’t coach seeing the floor, and making smart decisions. This guy already has a firm grasp on that so it makes me wonder how it’s gonna take him to pick up the Spurs system. His athleticism can be easily remedied with strength and conditioning coaches, but I really can’t wait to see what he brings to the table with his passing abilities.

  • Larry Tang

    I agree that his height, length, and high release allow him to get his shot off, but he also has the habit of leaning back in the face of contests. That costs percentage points. I could see him as a 35% 3pt shooter in the nba, but unless he gets a quicker release, the only way he shoots 40% is to play like matt bonner.

  • GoSpursGo

    I would place CoJo at the point with BoBo and Slow-Mo.

  • Tyler

    Can we just talk about those Mega Vizura uniforms?!?!?!

  • GoSpursGo

    Well, a lot of decent shooters became great shooters for the Spurs. Something about shooting in rhythm with great spacing seems to help…

  • GoSpursGo

    We really saw a marked difference in quality of play when Boris was in the game. The biggest concern was conditioning. If This guy can provide the same catalyst, basically a guy who can create spacing and passing lanes from the high post or wing, then the Spurs offense will be that much better. Of course he will struggle at first, and he will be a defensive liability. But the SPurs howed what happens when their offense is clicking against a teams second unit. If Anderson can be a catalyst for a few barrages of three pointers and layups…well, maybe I am hoping too hard on a pre-rookie, but it would be a thing of beauty.

  • merkin

    Re-reading that post from earlier in the season, man, you were spot-on. What are the lotto numbers going to be?

  • lvmainman

    Basically, a modern day version of Luke Walton. Not that impressed.

  • Governmentname

    Bonner didn’t have the quickest release either & lead the league in 3 point shooting.

  • Governmentname

    Luke Walton couldn’t create off the dribble. Walton was basically Blair w/ a higher IQ.

  • Governmentname

    If Bonner can be a semi-rotation player for a decade in the NBA then I don’t see how Kyle’s athleticism, or lack-thereof, is going to hinder him from being a legit rotation player. He’s basically Bonner’s replacement for the time being & maybe a Diaw replacement down the road.

  • Tyler

    I’d be thrilled with Luke Walton at the 30th pick!! Do you know what the 30th pick typically yields? (hint: it’s not an NBA player)

  • Emil E. Matula III

    I like the pic- he fits the offensive system really well, and while he doesn’t have the quickness to defend on the ball, but Matt Bonner can teach him how to position himself defensively.

  • Larry Tang

    Being slow to shoot hurts spacing and his lack of speed hurts his ability to attack the closeout. I’ve no doubt the Spurs system helps him, but let’s not pretend these aren’t serious flaws.

  • Larry Tang

    In percentage, yes, but his makes and attempts per minute are far below the other elite shooters in the league. Matt is in the 99th percentile of 3pt accuracy, but his slow release holds him back from being prolific on a per minute basis. If Kyle Anderson can correct his mechanics, he could be an all-star. If he can’t, he is a poor man’s Boris Diaw.

  • Governmentname

    So basically next summer (2015):

    Overseas prospects:
    -Bertans/Hanga will be Marco/Daye’s replacement.
    -Livio could be Ayre’s replacement,
    -DeShaun could be the 15th man or a Danny Green insurance if he leaves via free-agency
    -Denmon could be Co-Jo’s replacement
    -Richards will be Bayne’s replacement

    Home-keeping:
    Tim/Manu retire–> replaced by Marc Gasol/Gerald Green

    If Tony is breaking down then sign-and-trade for Rondo or Kyrie Irving.

    The future looks bright.

  • Governmentname

    Luke Walton put up 11/5/4 in 2006 & got a fat contract. He had chronic back issues & had to retire.

  • Tyler

    Walton was a solid role player for a championship team. That’s more than you normally get at 30. Typically at that spot you get a guy who won’t be in the league after his rookie deal.

  • Tyler

    A few assumptions in there…

  • Len

    His slow mechanics and high release point remind me alot of SJAX shot. And Wacko Jacko had no problem getting his 3 ball off.

  • DorieStreet

    Who you giving up to get Rondo or Irving?

  • Larry Tang

    He was a bad shooter, check out his numbers. Is that what you want out of Kyle Anderson?

  • Governmentname

    Slo-Mo is more like a slower version of post-injury Shaun Livingston w/ 13% than Bobo. Once he gets in shape & eventually fill into his body/gets stronger then he can be a “small-ball” PF.

  • Carlo

    Rondo = NO defense + bad habits vs. opponents & refs. NOT Spurs culture. Don’t like him at all.
    Marc Gasol: one of the best centers in the NBA. But… How could we get him?

  • GoSpursGo

    They are serious flaws, absolutely, which is what caused his value to drop. What I am saying is that in the Spurs system, his flaws are compensated for and that his strengths are emphasized, so his value to the Spurs is much higher than his value would be to any other team. I doubt he is slower (of foot or of release) than the Red Rocket or BoBo.

    Transitioning to the NBA with subpar physical tools is always a challenge, but I think he will fit better in the Spurs system than anywhere else he could have landed.

  • GoSpursGo

    Rondo is an excellent defender…but he is a jerk, not a Spurs guy at all.

  • DorieStreet

    Also is one of the best rebounding guards in the league; but as you and Carlo stated earlier, his demeanor and attitude at times does seem like a bad fit.

  • Larry Tang

    I definitely agree with this. We are the best team he could have ended up on. I’m especially convinced that our defensive system hides his quickness deficit and allows his length to play up.

    As for the release time, I didn’t think it would that bad either until I saw the video. It’s definitely slower than Diaw’s, pretty comparable to Bonner’s. He does shoot decently well with a hand in his face though.

  • Melbourne Spur

    How could I have left out Willie. Nice one.

  • bevo86

    Rondo and Irving are both horrible fits for the Spurs. Rondo is widely-regarded as difficult to work with, flashy, and obsessed with his stats (particularly his assist totals). Irving is an absolutely awful defender, he plays favorites with passing, and is prone to hero-ball tactics. Both have had significant public conflicts with other teammates, and show poor leadership qualities.

  • Graham

    Ahh, the sense of entitlement and Pipe-dreams at the end there….

  • Graham

    Something tells me Kyle Anderson’s going to come into the season with a quicker release on the ball and (hopefully) some bulk in a year or two to become the stretch-4 for the Kawhi Years, as I’m going to call them after TD hangs em up finally.

  • Len

    If Anderson contributes as much to the Spurs as SJAX did, it’ll be a HUGE hit at the 30th pick. I couldn’t care less what SJAX’s career 3P % was. Wacko hit several enormous shots in key playoff moments for the Spurs.

    Compare that to Wintershoes. Unreal career %, but made a habit out of disappearing in the playoffs. Or how about RJ? Became a very prolific 3Pt shooter with the Spurs but was a complete no show when it mattered.

    Stats don’t tell the whole story.

  • Governmentname

    Shaun Livingston has turned out to be a rotational player w/o being able to shoot a lick b/c of his IQ/passing skills even after a devastating injury robbed him of his athleticism. Kyle is more like a slower post-injury Livingston than Diaw & he has more range/wing-span/strength than Livingston.

  • Governmentname

    Like I said if Tony is breaking down then sign & trade Tony for Rondo (most likely will be traded this summer b/c of Smart) or Irving (unhappy in cleveland): All 3 will be free-agents next summer (2015) & none of the GMs want to lose them w/o getting anything in return. Tony can help a team looking for a veteran leadership i.e. Cavs.

  • Governmentname

    Marc Gasol will be a free agent next summer (2016) unless he signs an extension; same goes for Aldridge.

  • Governmentname

    Mike Conley seem like a Spurs guy but he’s won’t be a free agent until 2016 a year after Tony’s contract expires. Would be great if RC can import both Gasol/Conley from Memphis to replace Tim/Tony.

  • Governmentname

    Everyone was praising Rondo’s attitude/unselfishness when the Celtics were contenders & Irving NEVER had a decent coach in the NBA. Pop would put a leash on both of them. When healthy either of them are MUCH better than the broken down Tony we saw glimpse of in the past 2 Finals.

  • Carlo

    He likes to let the opponent pass to steal from behind. Very bad defensive attitude. I still maintain he’s a bad defender.
    Anyway, even if he was the best defender in the world, I’d NEVER have him in my team for, as you “technically” defined him, he’s a jerk!
    Remember him bumping a ref. I also remember him pushing violently an opponent out of bounds and against the sideline table. Unfortunately, he got away with it too often (and nonetheless he collected lots of stupid T’s) and that did not good to him. Rivers wasn’t able to rein him in, so I’m doubtful Pop could either, expecially at this age.

    To sum it up: not a Purs guy at all. Please R.C., don’t ever ruin this work of art of a team.

  • Alice Soefje

    Wonder what these kids think when they slide down the draft, you know they hoped to go higher, then they get the word, “Oh, you’re going to the Spurs.” Talk about climbing out of the cellar to the penthouse. LOL

    Then there is the kid who got drafted by the Heat and then found out he had been traded to the Sixers. He did not look happy.

  • Carlo

    Ehm… “Spurs”, obviously.

    Again on Rondo, Celts just selected a good PG and this subscribes to the rumors that they’d like to get rid of Rondo (and his 12M$ salary). I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in Miami or Dallas (who just renounced to Calderon to get Chandler back), teams in desperate need of a ready-made PG to win early.
    Spurs have Parker, Mills and Joseph, so no need for immediate future and by the time TP will be really old, Rondo won’t be that fresh anymore. I think Spurs should take Tony’s last years time to build a consistent, Spurs-like PG in-home; a guarantee of solid future.
    I see a strategy like that: run for the repeat next year, then build over solid, almost already existing basis (Mills, Leonard, Splitter, Green, even Anderson) to get to the Finals in three years. History demonstrated that Spurs are not desperate to win immediately, year after year, for they have a solid financial structure AND a loyal and patient fan base who trust their management and is used to medium-long term achievements. Spurs fans are not like Knicks’ or Heat’s that cheer the day before and boo the day after if they don’t win again.

  • Tim in Surrey

    Well he shot 45% from three-point range last year, so I don’t see the problem. And remember, that’s BEFORE meeting Chip Engelland. Also, while NBA players are taller, quicker, more prepared, and play in better defensive systems than Pac-12 players do, he also will be surrounded by guys like Tim, Tony, Manu, Kawhi, etc, so I think it’s a bit of a wash. His shot should be fine.

  • Tim in Surrey

    I’m sure Danny Ainge will be happy to get right on that for you…