Kyle Anderson | 2014 NBA Draft Profile

UCLA forward/guard Kyle Anderson is one of the more versatile players in the Draft because of his size and ball-handling ability. But how will his defense translate to the NBA level?
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
by Mark Remme
Web Editor
@markremme

UCLA | Sophomore | Forward/Guard | 6-foot-9 | 230 lbs

2013-14: 33.2 MPG, 14.6 PPG, .480 FG%, .483 3FG%, 8.8 RPG, 6.5 APG, 1.8 SPG

2012-13: 29.9 MPG, 9.7 PPG, .416 FG%, .211 3FG%, 8.6 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.8 SPG

Editor’s Note: Throughout June, Timberwolves.com's Draft Coverage presented by Coors Light will profile a series of prospects that could be available at Minnesota’s No. 13 pick, or if they choose to be mobile during the 2014 NBA Draft on June 26. Part IX highlights UCLA swingman Kyle Anderson, who has enough size to be considered a small forward but has the handle of a point guard.

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Kyle Anderson doesn’t seem to shy away from his nickname “Slo-Mo.” It’s almost a term of endearment for the sophomore out of UCLA.

That is, so long as it’s taken in the right context.

“I’ll take it as how I see the game,” Anderson joked when given the option between that and how he moves on the court. “I embrace it, everyone loves it. It’s great for the fans, so I embrace it.”

Anderson might have received the nickname because of his pace of play at times, but it’s been an effective method for him during his stint with the Bruins. He’s become one of the top all-around playmakers in college basketball over the past year, averaging just over a rebound and 3 ½ assists shy of a triple-double for the 2013-14 season.

Anderson handles himself well in the media, displays an appreciation for the players who came before him and seems to be embracing the rigors of this wild journey between leaving college and hearing his name called on June 26.

“[The Draft workout schedule] is one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do as a basketball player, but you’ve just go to look at the positive side of it. There are many people who would like to be in my shoes. I’m not complaining or anything like that.”

He said he’s talked with former Bruins like Russell Westbrook about what it takes to make it through the Draft process and how to get prepared for the NBA level. Westbrook has been influential throughout Anderson’s two years at UCLA, he said.

And he’s got a nice group of teammates with him during this process that help him stay focused and prepared, too. Bruins back-court teammates Jordan Adams and Zach LaVine are both doing the NBA teams tour right now, and Anderson said he’s staying in contact with them throughout.

“I talk to those guys all the time,” Anderson said. “I really enjoyed being teammates with those guy, so we keep in touch, do a very good job of that.”

Anderson was in Minnesota on Saturday for a Draft workout, and he also spoke with the Wolves at the Draft Combine in Chicago. At the Combine, Anderson said one of the things he hopes to contribute and see on an NBA team in general is good ball movement.

“Passing the ball—if you watch a lot of the good teams in the playoffs this year, they do a good job of making the extra pass, sharing the ball, overall just passing the ball,” Anderson said. “I think that’s one of my best attributes.”

STRENGTHS

Anderson is young, he has an all-around presence offensively and he’s billed as a point guard in a small forward’s body. He’s 6-foot-9 and 233 pounds with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, which is ample size to be a 3 in the NBA. And he’s played essentially the 1, 2 and 3 during his basketball career, so he’s also able to handle the flow and tempo of games from the perspective. His 14.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game last year show his versatility, and he shot an incredible 48.3 percent from 3-point range (1.6 attempts per game). He can be an additional ball handler on the floor, yet he can still shoot over defenders because of his length. He’s strong in catch-and-shoot situations, and he’s pretty good off the dribble. He’s able to use his length to grab defensive rebounds, and he’s comfortable enough taking the ball up court to take it coast-to-coast. You can also tell he’s got a good personality when speaking to him, which goes a long way in a team setting.

WEAKNESSES

Defense and athleticism will be the two questions surrounding Anderson during this Draft season. He’s not an athlete that stands out above the rest in this Draft, and his explosiveness is also something he’ll need to work on and prove. He doesn’t play above the rim, and he’s not an incredibly strong shooter inside the arc—he actually shot better from 3 than from 2 last year. Part of that might be his shooting mechanics or his inability to beat defenders to the rim. Also, he does showcase strong passing skills but he is turnover-prone. He averaged 3.1 turnovers per game during the 2013-14 season. If he’s able to take what the defense gives him and not force passes, he should be able to work through that at the NBA level. That’s something the Wolves have worked on getting better at with Ricky Rubio over the past couple seasons, too.

THEY SAID IT

“UCLA’s produced a lot of great pros, so just having a great lineage from that program and having so many players having success in the NBA, that’s important to me. I want to meet expectations that those guys have for me coming out of UCLA.” — UCLA forward Kyle Anderson on the Bruins’ tradition of NBA-caliber players

WHAT HE CAN BRING TO THE WOLVES

Anderson plays a methodical-type game. He is patient in how he approaches his play, and yet he’s very effective because he has the combination of size and ball handling. He would bring all-around skills on the offensive end, including a good scoring touch from outside, the ability to rebound and a solid court vision. At 6-foot-9 and boasting a 7-foot-2 wingspan, he has good length for a wing but he can also handle the ball. He’d give an NBA team the chance to develop him into a point-forward type player. He’s creative on the floor offensively, and defensively his length should allow him to find himself in opponents’ passing lanes.