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.
NEW YORK — There may not be a more perfect fit for Kyle Anderson than landing with the reigning NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.
The 6-foot-9 Fairview, N.J., native was chosen at No. 30 and should flourish in the structured system and winning culture of the Spurs, who just won their fifth NBA title since 1999 over LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
“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 this past season.
Anderson was a near-triple-double last season at UCLA, averaging 14.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists.
“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,” Alford said. “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?
ESPN’s Chad Ford said Boris Diaw is the closest comparison he could come up with, appropriate since Diaw is also on the Spurs and played well in the NBA Finals.
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.”
Anderson, who can learn from Tony Parker and coach Gregg Popovich, likely won’t be able to defend opposing point guards because of the speed mismatch, and will have to defend opposing big men, something he did at UCLA.
“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.”
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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.