James Anderson Might Be Wing Diamond in Forward-Center Rough
James Anderson is a stranger in a strange land. Well, rather, he's a guard-forward in a forward-center's land. As we talked about Monday, this year's draft is busting out the seams with forwards, combo-forwards, and forward-center prospects. The shooting guards have been shoved down to the last third of the first round, which means they could go very high if a team drafts at that need, or they could go very low if the perceived lack of elite talent buries them along with their fellow wing shooters.
The hesitation around Anderson, is, however, a bit bizarre.
As Draft Express pointed out, Anderson was second among all players in points per possession, as well as in possessions used. So basically, he was a hyper-efficient scorer that was used to utilizing lots of possessions. He was great in the pick-and-roll. He was great in creating his own shot. You know, pretty much all the things that help determine if you can be successful in at the two-guard. He was the Big 12 Player of the year, for cryin' out loud. 22.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists. And he's used to being a leader. Yet somehow, he finds himself at No.30 on DX's board. 30! Far be it from me to disagree with the fine work of DX, but it makes you wonder what's going on among scouts that's causing his plummet.
Is it his defense? Surely that's something that can be taught, and, let's be honest, is more of a system product than individual impact-based in the NBA. Maybe a health concern? Nothing blaring. Gotta be the handle. That's it. Except how often have we seen a turnover-prone guy come in and kill it in the NBA when he's not dribbling needlessly around a perimeter zone (unless you're the Lakers against Phoenix for about two games until they solved that riddle)?
Anderson's not a top 10 guy. That's fine. But the argument could certainly be made that he's a better prospect than Xavier Henry, even considering Henry's youth. Anderson has proven he can be a go-to scorer, and those are guys that often are able to make the transition because they're not blown away by the increased scrutiny of the opposing squad.
At least our guy Ziller tends to agree with me, as he's got Anderson at 15, providing the Bucks with leverage in their negotiations with John Salmons. Anderson is a top level prospect that for some reason is drifting towards the back end. If a team with a wing need is smart, they'll consider going with the cream of the crop at a position rather than hoping it's their raw undersized big man that ends up working out and not the other 22.
(Check out Tom Ziller's latest Mock Draft here, and follow all of our coverage on the 2010 NBA Draft.)