Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
But count Knicks center Tyson Chandler among those who think Anderson has a place in the NBA.
“He’s a big guy and I’m not for sure what position he would be in the league, I’m not sure he could play the point,” Chandler told SNY.tv exclusively after Anderson went for 15 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists in UCLA’s 80-63 loss to Duke at Madison Square Garden.
“But just like the kid out of Syracuse is showing, Michael Carter-Williams, showing that big guys can still play the point and still have a place in this league….It just depends on how [Anderson] continues to develop. He has a little time to develop.”
The 6-foot-5 Carter Williams is averaging 17.7 points, 7.3 assists and 5.8 rebounds for the Philadelphia 76ers.
For his part, Anderson is averaging close to a triple-double at UCLA — 13.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists against 3.1 turnovers per game. Playing in his first game at Madison Square Garden as a collegian, Anderson was very impressive, going for 15 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists, with 6 turnovers.
Opinions are mixed on where he will be drafted and what his role in the NBA will be. NBADraft.net projects Anderson as the No. 29 pick in the 2014 Draft, while DraftExpress.com has him at No. 55.
Kyle Anderson Sr. told SNY.tv his son is definitely coming out after this season.
“He’s unique because there just aren’t a lot of guys that size who can play the point,” UCLA coach Steve Alford told SNY.tv. “For instance, his turnovers today I didn’t think had anything to do with fullcourt pressure. Most of his turnovers were in transition where he just had a loose handle and got tired and that could’ve been on me.
“You look at his numbers, as far as how much he has the ball in his hands, his assists, his turnovers and he’s shooting the ball much better. I just think he’s a unique player that you don’t see very often. To have a 6-9 point guard, I know it’s helped us because you make people think about how they’re going to match up to you right away having a guy like that.”
Who is Anderson in the NBA?
Chad Ford said Boris Diaw is the closest comparison he could come up with.
Hall of Fame St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley — who went 65-0 with two New Jersey Tournament of Champions titles and one mythical national championship with Anderson running the point — once told SNY.tv Anderson is a “modern-day Magic Johnson.”
“If you look at over history, there haven’t been a lot of guys over 6-8 running the point,” Alford said. “I do think he’s a point guard. He may not defend the point guard, but there’s a lot of guys that can play one position and defend another position, but from an offensive standpoint I think he’s definitely a point guard.”
He added: “I don’t know if he’ll end up being a guy that guards the point guard, but he can definitely do it offensively.”
Duke’s Jabari Parker, the potential No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, also came away impressed with Anderson.
“Oh yeah, he’s an exceptional player, especially his 6-9 frame and being able to handle the ball,” Parker said. “That’s something that I look up to as a basketball player that’s very fundamentally sound.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.