On the heels of UCLA's Sweet 16 loss to Florida, sophomore Kyle Anderson has reportedly decided to enter the NBA draft after two seasons with the Bruins.
According to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com, although an official announcement has yet to be made, Anderson's father told ESPN that the preseason plan for Anderson to enter the draft following the 2013-14 campaign remains unchanged.
Although Anderson may not be considered an elite talent along the lines of Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and other likely high lottery picks, he has a unique skill set that should be intriguing to NBA teams.
Is Anderson wise to declare for the draft?
Anderson is 6'9" and 230 pounds, but he played point guard at UCLA and was the primary ball-handler within head coach Steve Alford's explosive offense.
That high level of responsibility reflected positively on Anderson's statistics, as he averaged 14.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game this season. Anderson was also hugely efficient to the tune of a 48 percent conversion rate from the floor.
Anderson stuffed the stat sheet against Florida as he so often did during his time at UCLA, and the Bruins were clearly a different team when he wasn't on the floor. According to ESPN College Basketball on Twitter, UCLA struggled to hang with the top-seeded Gators with Anderson on the bench:
UCLA outscored Florida by 5 pts in 31mins w/ Kyle Anderson on the court. With Anderson on the bench, they were outscored by 16 pts in 9mins.— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) March 28, 2014
UCLA will obviously have a difficult time adjusting to life after Anderson, but the true question relates to how Anderson might translate to the NBA. He is an extremely unique player who admitted to relying largely on deception and anticipation, per Matt Norlander of CBSSports.com.
Playing at one speed is a way a lot of guys get caught up. I'm not that fast, but if I can change my speeds — if you know how to change speeds it adds an element to your game. I don't read (the defender); I like him to read me. I just like to go at him. He's not going to decide what I'm going to do. It's not something where I like to read defenders or how they like to guard or anything.
Even though it is uncertain how he'll fit in at the NBA level, he is too talented to fall beyond the top 20 in all likelihood. He probably won't be utilized as a point guard, but he could be a very intriguing, all-around small forward.
There wasn't much left for Anderson to do or prove at the collegiate level, so entering the draft while his stock is high is a smart idea. Now he'll simply have to wait and see what type of competition he'll have in terms of draft positioning.
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