With all the drama being bandied about in regards to what the Utah Jazz will do with the No. 5 and No. 23 picks in the 2014 NBA Draft and possibly trading up to select Kansas star Andrew Wiggins at No. 1, there are other interesting players that Jazz fans should know going in.
UCLA’s Kyle Anderson is actually a point forward, for example. At 6-feet-9-inches in height, Anderson is re-defining the way that players see the game. He can play three positions that any NBA team knows of, and his numbers (15 points, nine rebounds and six assists per game) remind you of another player who nearly got triple-doubles every night when he played in college--or Magic Johnson.
The reason that Anderson’s draft stock has slipped is that he is a bit slow and lacks the athletic prowess of some of the other players who are expected to go in the first 15 picks.
That said, if Anderson is on the board and the Jazz haven’t traded up for their man Andrew Wiggins, then you can expect Utah to make a move--perhaps even earlier if they’ve traded away the No. 23 pick--to grab Anderson.
The UCLA star is a player that the Jazz brought in for a pre-draft workout, and all indications were that the team was impressed by his versatility. Deseret News reporter David J. Smith noted on Wednesday, June 25 that he sees a spot immediately for a player like Anderson.
“Anderson would be a welcome addition to the Utah Jazz second unit and seems to be a solid choice this late in the draft,“ Smith said in his mock draft article that predicted whom the Jazz would take. “His strengths makes him an intriguing prospect for a team that has traditionally loved having a cadre of players who help facilitate its offense.”
With new head coach Quin Snyder aboard, the likelihood that the Jazz will try to play with a more potent offense is right in Anderson’s wheelhouse--despite his shortcomings with foot speed.
Other NBA players have had speed deficiencies--and turned out just fine. One particular player who comes to mind is former Utah Utes guard Andre Miller. He has enjoyed a long career in the NBA due to his court awareness and industriousness.
Nicknamed “Slo-Mo” because of his famed lack of burst, Anderson comes from storied St. Anthony’s High School in Jersey City, New Jersey, a program that has won the most state basketball titles of any high school team in U.S. history. He was also a McDonald’s High School All-American before playing two years at UCLA.