NBA Draft Profile: Justin Anderson
By Jay Knodell
The Dallas Mavericks have plenty of needs to be addressed this offseason, meaning they could go in any direction with their first round pick in the NBA Draft on June 25th.
An area where the Mavericks really struggled in 2014-15 was their perimeter defense, and if they attempt to shore that up with the 21st pick Virginia’s Justin Anderson will certainly be considered.
He’s the subject of this NBA Draft Profile.
Mar 22, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Virginia Cavaliers guard Justin Anderson (1) defends Michigan State Spartans guard Denzel Valentine (45) during the second half in the third round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena. Michigan State won 60-54. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Anderson: SF – Virginia, JR
- 21-years old
- 6’6″, 231-lbs
- 2014-15 Averages: 12.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 45.2 3P%,
- Strong, NBA-ready frame
- 7-foot wingspan and big hands
- Good athlete, weapon in transition
- Good versatile defender with potential to get even better
- Improved shooter from outside
Justin Anderson has “solid role player” written all over him, particularly now that he’s improved his game on the offensive end. Anderson had three productive seasons for Tony Bennett and the University of Virginia, playing a key role in helping the Cavaliers post top-5 finishes in defensive efficiency the last two seasons.
His frame, strength, and lateral quickness are good enough to translate to the professional level and allow him to guard multiple positions. But it wasn’t until he improved his outside shot that his name starting being thrown around as a first round pick.
Anderson shot 29.2% from three-point range his sophomore season, but after a summer of working on his mechanics his perimeter shot improved drastically in his junior year. Anderson hit 47 of his 104 attempts, 45.2%, and has become a legitimate “3-and-D” prospect at the next stage.
He’s also 21-years old, had success playing against other NBA prospects in the talented ACC, and learned from a really good coach, meaning he fits the win-now Maverick mentality.
Check out some highlights from the southpaw’s impressive junior year.
- Not a shot creator
- Outside stroke can be streaky
- History of poor shot selection
Justin Anderson worked on his jumper to make him a more viable option on the offensive end, now it’s time to improve that handle.
His explosiveness and strength allow him to attack the rim successfully in a straight line, but his, frankly, weak ball handling skills generally prevent him from doing that unless he works up a head of steam. Along those same lines, he can not reliably create offense for his teammates in the half court. He would need to improve in that area to better fit with Rick Carlisle‘s flowing offensive scheme.
Anderson’s court awareness and shot selection have also improved, but he can be streaky from outside and still has a tendency to force shots at times.
But he has shown a willingness to hone his craft, something his veteran teammates will appreciate. If he continues to do so, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t, Anderson could easily become a quality contributor off the bench for a good team.
Next: Get to Know Potential Maverick Patrick Beverley
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