Kyle Anderson, the newest draftee of the San Antonio Spurs, is littered with unique talents and skills on the basketball court. After all, there’s a reason the reigning Most Outstanding Player of the Pac-12 Tournament has been compared to one of the most illustrious point guards to ever play the game, Magic Johnson.
But, then, is he really a point guard?
Standing tall at 6’8½”, with a wingspan over 7’2”, Anderson thoroughly resembles the stature of an NBA small forward. Naturally, he was placed in small forwards when ranked as the world approached the NBA Draft. Comparing a small forward to a point guard doesn’t make much sense then, right?
In all likelihood, Kyle Anderson will not match Magic Johnson’s distinguished career. Comparing somebody to a great like that is preposterous, but even Dick Vitale has chimed in, saying Anderson “has the mini-version of that kind of skill.”
Anderson’s passing and court visions are his greatest assets on the court. Last year, as a sophomore, appearing as a point guard more often than not, Anderson let the Pac-12 in assists per game, and sixth in the entire Division 1, at a touch over six. His court vision is outstanding, using his height to be able to see the entire floor without problems, similar to Mr. Magic Johnson.
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But wait, Kyle Anderson also rebounds at a phenomenal rate considering he was playing point guard. At 8.8 boards per game, Anderson outrebounded fellow Pac-12 player and number four overall pick, power forward Aaron Gordon.
So he really is a small forward?
Kyle Anderson is versatile.
Just like in NCAA football recruiting, prospects can be listed as “athlete”, because of their versatility and athleticism. While Anderson is not the most gifted athletically, he can do a little bit of everything. In a Spurs system played with such beautiful team basketball, there is no need for labels. Manu Ginobili is a shooting guard who creates offense like a point guard. Patty Mills is a point guard who shoots like a two guard. Tim Duncan is… Let’s just go with a top five big man of all time (PF/C is a whole different debate).
Then there’s Boris Diaw, whom Anderson has drawn comparisons from multiple sources. Diaw started his basketball playing days as a point guard, has played all five positions during his NBA career, and will now finish as a stretch four, a position now coveted in the association. Even the two’s leisurely pace and methodical playing style are similar, which has dubbed the nickname “SlowMo” to Anderson; a nickname he has owned since middle school.
Granted, Anderson is not the best defender due to his lack of lateral quickness, but, he seems like a perfect fit for this San Antonio team.
He’s not a small forward. He’s not a point guard.
He’s just versatile.