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Justin Anderson Scouting Report

Justin Anderson elected to forgo his senior year of college in favor of joining the NBA. Wahoo fans may be somewhat disappointed, as we all dreamt of he and Malcolm Brogdon leading the Hoos to the Final Four this year. But Justin did what was best for him, and there's nothing wrong with that. Let's take a look at his NBA prospects.

Justin's high-flying, high-energy game seems tailor-made for the NBA.
Justin's high-flying, high-energy game seems tailor-made for the NBA.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

We all know that a couple of injuries killed what was a very promising season for Justin Anderson. He was lighting it up from outside, dominating on defense and leading the Hoos to nearly unprecedented heights. We all hoped he would return for his senior year, so he and Malcolm Brogdon could the Hoos to the NCAA Championship. But, he decided to turn pro. Was that a good decision? What kind of NBA player will he be? Where will he end up?

Stats

Year

GP

FG

3PT

FT

PPG

RPG

APG

SPG

BPG

TPG

12-13

35

89/212 (42%)

20/66 (30%)

68/89 (76%)

7.6

3.3

2.3

0.9

1.2

1.2

13-14

37

96/236 (40.7%)

30/102 (29%)

68/95 (71.6%)

7.8

3.2

1.5

0.4

0.8

1.4

14-15

26

103/221 (46.6%)

47/104 (45%)

64/82 (78%)

12.2

4.0

1.7

0.7

0.5

1.2


The most obvious thing you notice about Justin is that his shooting dramatically improved during this past year. If you're reading this, there's a good chance you already knew that. The increased shooting proficiency led to more points. It also led to more shot attempts (the loss of Joe Harris may also have contributed to the increase in shot attempts.) Justin's rebounding also improved (though this may have been due to the loss of Akil Mitchell).

The rest of Justin's numbers actually dropped a bit. This is probably due to a couple of factors. One, having gained a reputation as a very good defensive player, he wasn't often targeted by opposing teams and likely didn't get as many chances for steals and blocks. And two, an increase in shot attempts is likely going to coincide with a decrease in assists.

Combine Measurements

Height w/o Shoes

Weight

Body Fat

Hand Length

Hand Width

Wingspan

Standing Reach

6'5.25"

231

5%

8.5"

9.5"

6'11.75"

8'5"

Combine Performance

Standing Vert

Max Vert

Shuttle Run

¾ Court Sprint

Lane Agility Time

3 Pt Shooting

38"

43"

2.88

3.22

11.13

9/25


Justin measured up well at the combine. Yeah, he would be better off if he was a legit 6'6", but NBA teams love long players, and a wing with a 7 foot wingspan is very long. His 231 pounds, and 5% body fat are tremendous numbers. No player weighing as much as Justin had such a low body fat percentage. He is strong and lean and all muscle.

That muscular frame showed off in the combine drills. Justin had the highest standing vertical of all the players at the combine. He was 2nd in maximum vertical. (Many of the top players in the draft do not perform at the combine. That said, it is unlikely that many of those guys have a higher vertical than Justin, as most of them are big men.) In fact, Justin tiedHarrison Barnes for the highest vertical since 2008. His maximum vertical is also one of the highest numbers in the past decade, but was behind Pat Connaughton (of Notre Dame), who jumped 44". His shuttle run was 4th fastest among those who ran, and his court sprint was 13th. Those drills are generally much more suited to smaller guards, and Justin beat most of those guards (including ACC foes such as Tyus Jones).

Unfortunately, Justin's shooting numbers didn't quite match the rest of his performance. Despite the shooting prowess he showed this season, teams are still wary of Justin's shooting. Justin made just 9 out of 25 NBA threes, although he did hit 16/25 college threes. What does that mean? Probably that he's still a work in progress from NBA range. He shot pretty well off the bounce from 15 feet, making making 19/24 (79%).

There is no doubt that Justin has NBA athleticism. Virginia fans have seen that for 3 years. He also proved he has an NBA body. There simply aren't many 6'6" 230 pound guys with 7 foot wingspans and the quickness that Justin shows. NBA teams these days are all looking for the "3-and-D" wings.

From day 1, Justin is going to be a solid perimeter defender in the NBA. His quickness will help him stay in front of quicker wings, and his length will help him guard even the NBA's stretch-4's. In college, Justin was often capable of guarding all 5 opposing players. In the NBA, Justin isn't strong enough to take on big men, and likely isn't quick enough to guard the top PGs. But everybody in between will be fair game for Anderson.

That gives him the defense part. If he continues working on his shot, he should be able to handle the 3 part of it. That'll get him a 10 year career in the NBA. In order to get beyond "role player", Justin is going to have to work on his handle. Right now, he isn't really capable of creating his own shot. He's great in transition and he should be a capable spot-up shooter. But to become a star in the NBA, he needs to be able to get the ball on his own and make something happen for himself or a teammate. I'm not sure he has that in him (NBA scouts aren't sure either).

That weakness is the thing that keeps him out of the lottery. None of the top wings in the draft have the athletic profile of Anderson. But they are all more skilled. That includes Justice Winslow, Stanley JohnsonDevin Booker and Sam Dekker. Those guys are the wings most likely to go ahead of Justin in this week's draft. (Croatian Mario Hezonja is also likely to go well ahead of Justin, but I simply don't know enough about him to make a comparison. Suffice it to say that NBA scouts like him.)

One thing that is seemingly mentioned in every Justin scouting report is how much he aced the interview portion of the NBA combine. Justin is a smart guy, and a fun guy and he understands how to use that. This is part of why he was such a fan favorite at Virginia. He plays to the crowd, he's intelligent, funny and respectful. Even while injured, Justin was a team leader. He was the biggest cheerleader on the bench and was still often entertaining the Wahoo faithful. Combine all of that with his high energy, maximum effort style of play and he's an NBA executive's dream.

Basically, every team in the NBA could use a player like Justin. He's smart, he's long, he's uber-athletic and he's still developing. If Justin never develops his offensive game, he's basically a Tony Allen type; A tremendous perimeter defender who can't quite shoot enough to be counted on late in games, but still a valuable piece of a good team. But if Justin can continue developing his offensive game (and that includes not just his jumpshot, but also his handle and his ability to create off the dribble) then he could end up being a Kawhi Leonard type of player. Justin is more athletic than Leonard, but not quite as big. Leonard was a much better shooter coming out of college than Justin likely is. The rest of Kawhi's game, however, has developed over the past 4 years.

(Note: I'm not saying that Justin will be as good as Tony Allen or Kawhi Leonard, it's a comparison to the type of player Justin can be.)

So, where will Justin end up? Well, Danny Neckel took a peek at several mock drafts a couple of weeks ago, and it looked like he'd go in the late first round. That probably hasn't changed, although Justin apparently had a very good workout with the Wizards, who pick 19th. Virginia fans would love to see Justin drafted by the hometown team. It is more likely that he ends up somewhere in the mid-to-late 20s. That would be ideal, because Justin's talents are best utilized on a good team, as opposed to a rebuilding team.