In preparing for what most are calling the weakest draft in recent memory, it's been pointed out to me by a couple of NBA executives that the difference between the ninth pick and the 19th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft is probably going to be rather minuscule when looking back a few years down the road.
Knowing that, it's probably fair to say that a majority of the players selected in the second round are probably going to be on par with the players that don't hear their name this Thursday night even though they might have deserved that distinction. First up on today's agenda is one such player that might be included in the latter with Richmond's Kevin Anderson.
Anderson averaged 16.6 points and made 41 percent of his three-point shots as a six-foot senior scoring point guard for the Spiders this past season on their way to a Sweet 16 berth in the NCAA Tournament. Despite that success, however, Anderson finds himself on the outside looking in when it comes to the mock drafts of note.
I'm not going to ignore his weaknesses -- he's not a traditional point guard, he's undersized and he's not overly athletic -- but it seems that those in the business of projecting the happenings of this evening's draft are ignoring his strengths. Namely? He knows how to put the basketball in the bucket.
During his senior season, where he starred in the backcourt while fellow draft prospect Justin Harper did his thing in the front court, Anderson showed that he could shoot the ball with a hand in his face, run the pick-and-roll with precision and keep the offense moving in the halfcourt. He also doesn't turn the ball over near as often as the usual suspects.
On defense, he does what he can despite his limitations. He uses his smarts -- and grit, really, is how I'm going to put it -- to keep his man in front of him. He doesn't get in foul trouble, he picks up his share of steals and plays smart team defense the majority of the time.
Even though Anderson didn't seem to be getting much buzz leading up to tonight, the guard did have a fairly busy pre-draft workout tour. In between training sessions at the IMG, Anderson worked out with the Suns, Rockets, Bobcats, Celtics, Thunder, Wizards and Timberwolves with the Lakers, Raptors, Bucks and Hawks also showing interest.
If Anderson did enough at any of those workouts to get a look in tonight's draft remains to be seen, but methinks if he'd attended a more high-profile school, he'd be getting quite a bit more buzz.
Additional reading should include Anderson's blogging work over at Truehoop.