Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Boris Diaw and Kyle Anderson

The Spurs re-took control of the NBA Finals in Game 3 thanks to an offensive explosion in the first-half, fueled by inserting Boris Diaw into the starting line-up and going all 4-out, all the time. Diaw's numbers didn't jump off the page - 9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block and 1 steal on 3-6 shooting - but he had the highest plus-minus (+20) on the Spurs, just like he did in Game 1.

Diaw is just an incredibly versatile player who does so many different things well - he's got the size, reach and basketball IQ to hold his own on defense, he shoots well enough to stretch the floor, he can post up smaller players, he can put the ball on the ground and create shots for everyone else on the team and he punches above his weight on the glass. In short, he's a lot like Kyle Anderson at UCLA.

Anderson has slipped under the radar for most of the draft process because he's not an ideal athlete and he doesn't have a defined defensive position, but people have been focusing too much on what he can't do and not enough on what he can. He's 20 years old, he's 230 pounds and he has a 7'3 wingspan - he can play as a small-ball PF in the modern NBA and grown into the position as he gets older.

At the 4, Anderson just so many different things for a team. He's an elite ball-handler who can run the point full-time, he's turned himself into a respectable outside shooter and he's an above-average rebounder for a guy who spends so much time on the perimeter. Check out his stats as a sophomore at UCLA - 15 points, 9 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 2 steals and 1 block a game on 48% shooting. He knows how to play the game.

The similarities between Anderson and Diaw are striking. Given where he is projected to go in the draft - the latter stages of the first round - he's not likely to start right away, but he's going to be one of the best second-unit players in the NBA. He just helps your team in so many different ways and he's a mismatch nightmare on offense - he's got an advanced post game and an advanced dribble-drive game at 6'9 230. 

Whatever team takes him, he's going to immediately upgrade their bench and offer a ton of upside on a very affordable contract. Anderson is as talented a player as there is in this draft - he was a sophomore with a 25 PER who was the best player on a Sweet 16 team that won the Pac-12 Tournament. His floor is Boris Diaw 2.0 and he's going to be one of the steals of this year's draft. 

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