Justin Anderson was drafted 21st overall by the Dallas Mavericks. That's awesome! But now what? Andrew Kreighbaum of SB Nation's Mavs Moneyball answered some of our questions to help UVA fans get acquainted with Anderson's new team.
STL: Analysts have graded the selection of Justin Anderson highly - does the fanbase agree? What was the initial sentiment on the pick from Mav's fans?
MM: It's tough for me to say how most Dallas fans look at the pick but I get the sense that Mavs bloggers I know feel pretty "meh" about it. That has as much to do with who was still on the board--R.J. Hunter and Bobby Portis--as it does the actual pick. A lot of folks at Mavs Moneyball were pretty invested in Hunter in particular because of his shooting abilities. There's also a general skepticism of the franchise's handling of the draft that I can't say is unearned. The team has made some really egregious mistakes on draft night, especially since 2011, that have been big set backs for the talent pool on the roster.
Personally, I'm really excited about Anderson and think he's a great fit on the wing next to Chandler Parsons. I was a big fan after watching him play this past season for the Cavaliers. I especially like his potential defensive versatility and his ability to play off the ball. Considering the Mavs don't have a pick in the first round next year, I thought it was important that they make a really solid choice who is going to be part of the rotation for the next several years and I think Anderson fits that description.
STL: The Mavericks are known for trading their draft selections before the season starts - just 6 of the team's last 30 draft picks have actually played in Dallas the following season. Do you think they are gonna do that again? What would they be looking for? (This would be a huge bummer to everyone who purchased Justin Anderson Mavericks jerseys already...)
MM: That number sounds correct, although it's partly so high because of the number of guys (Dirk Nowitzki and Devin Harris come to mind) who they traded up for or the guys like Jared Cunningham or Shane Larkin they took after trading back. It appears the Mavs are going to hang on to Anderson and I really don't see why they would trade him. He fills a need and his salary is not going to be an obstacle to pursuing free agent targets. That was the motivation for trading back in the draft in 2012 and 2013.
STL: For UVA fans unfamiliar with the Mavericks' roster situation (the NBA game is sometimes just far too quick for us to follow)...what's going on over there? What's the potential for Anderson to see playing time in the near future?
MM: The first thing to know about the Dallas roster is that it's in flux right now. We probably won't have a good idea of the starting lineup until well into the free agency period. After Monta Ellis opted out of his deal, the team is focusing on building around Chandler Parsons as the primary ball handler on the wing. So Mavs fans are hoping he'll be ready for opening night after offseason knee surgery. The point guard position is a question mark and the team will probably be looking to add a big name free agent in the front court. Dirk will be here for a couple more years but the team would love to add the talent for him to come off the bench.
STL: Relatedly, what type of role do you see (or hope to see) him filling in Dallas's system?
MM: After he was selected by the Mavericks, Anderson said he tries to model his game after guys like Green, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. I don't know that anyone is expecting him to be an All-Star but I think those are great players to style his game after. Because Parsons will be expanding his playmaking duties this season, Dallas needs someone who will be able to play off the ball and compete on the defensive end. If Justin can be the kind of swiss army knife those players are on defense, it would be a huge boon for the Mavs.
STL: Justin Anderson joins fellow Wahoo alum Rick Carlisle - I assume fans are okay with changing the team's colors to orange and blue?
MM: Those colors might be a little too close to the scheme used by our neighbors up I-35 in Oklahoma City. But I think Anderson will look great in Mavericks blue. I'm excited to see him on the team.
Thanks again to Andrew for participating! I answered some questions about Anderson for Mavs Moneyball, and will link over to that when it's up.