The San Antonio Spurs won the 2014 NBA Finals for various reasons, but their ability to go small because of Boris Diaw‘s versatility may have been the biggest one. Diaw, who entered the starting lineup in Game 3, made the Spurs offense impossible to contain for the Miami Heat. Diaw is now a free agent, and the Spurs will surely look to bring his talents back to San Antonio. UCLA‘s Kyle Anderson is the most comparable player to Diaw in the 2014 NBA Draft, and even if the Spurs re-sign Diaw, Anderson fits perfectly onto this championship roster.
Like Diaw, Anderson lacks extreme athleticism and explosion. Anderson is not quick at all, making it impossible for him to be is selected with a lottery pick. Anderson will most likely struggle defending NBA players early in his NBA career because of this major weakness. Furthermore, he will struggle to make plays off the dribble as he did in college until he gains better speed and explosiveness. His three-point shooting is a bit of a question mark as well. He shot 21 percent from behind the arc during his freshman year, but raised his percentage to 48 percent this past season. He certainly has a high release, but he needs to make it much quicker to make it in the NBA.
Anderson makes up for his athletic deficiencies with a great feel for the game. Anderson has the skills to be a point forward, as he is probably the best passer in this entire draft. Standing just under 6-foot-9, he sees the floor extremely well, and his unselfishness has never been questioned. Anderson can pass from all different areas of the court, similar to Diaw. He can make plays from the post, facing up or off the dribble, making Anderson truly a matchup nightmare. As a forward, Anderson can also rebound the ball, averaging 8.8 rebounds per game last season with UCLA.
The Spurs are hopeful that Anderson is still on the board tonight at pick No. 30 because San Antonio can certainly develop Anderson into a valuable playmaker. The Spurs are one of the few teams that have the creativity to use his rare skills, and a lineup with Diaw and Anderson could be lethal in an already pass-heavy Spurs offense.