The Spurs own the 26th and 55th picks in the 2015 draft, which will be held a week before the start of free agency on June 25th. With just five Spurs under contract when free agency hits on July 1st, this pick is much more interesting for the Spurs faithful than those in recent years.
The 21-year old Justin Anderson has made the decision to forego his senior year at the University of Viginia and enter the draft where he expects to be taken somewhere between the middle of the first round and the early second round.
The consensus on the prospect is that he projects to be a "3 and D" player as a 6' 6," 231-pound wing that possesses a 6' 11.75" wingspan. He looks to have the tools to become an elite defender if he can learn patience, fundamentals and the flow of the game. SA is an ideal destination for that growth to occur, as time in Popovich's system would almost certainly allow the young man to refine his skills further.
Offensively, he greatly improved his three-point shooting from his first two years in college to his last, to the tune of 29.4% in his sophomore season to 45.2% last season. With world-class shooting-coach Chip Engelland's help I think he could certainly develop a consistent deep-ball in the NBA.
If Anderson does fall in the draft to the Spurs and SA picks him up it could point to the departure of Danny Green. He won't be able to check point guards with Danny's proficiency, but his quick feet, size and above average lateral quickness will make him a handful for most two-guards in the league. On the other side of the floor, a combo of Kawhi and Justin would prove a very difficult cover for the rest of the league with two wings that can take smaller wings in the post.
But he played the three in college. The Spurs already have an elite player at that position in Whi and if Justin, who's got a large frame, can't play at the two, I'm not sure what the Spurs could do with him. It is a league that is valuing 6' 6' to 6'8" two-way players that can shoot the three more and more. Another elite defender, if he can get there, in a league that is downsizing could certainly prove useful over the next half decade.
My preference would be to resign Danny even if it costs a little extra, this is all assuming Tim and Manu come back, and pick a project big for a year or two down the road. But if PATFO decides to let Danny go, Justin could prove to be a versatile and useful rotation wing if his athleticism carries over to the next level.
You can check out DraftExpress' scouting video of Justin Anderson here.
The Spurs have previously drafted five players that share the Anderson surname;
- The first, Michael, was drafted in he seventh round of the '86 draft and did not have an NBA career.
- Second, Greg, who was selected with the 23rd pick in the '87 draft (the same draft that saw SA grab David Robinson with the first pick,) played a couple of years in SA before bouncing around the NBA for 10 years, including a second stop with the Spurs from '95 to '97.
- Next up is a more familiar name, Willie Anderson, and he was selected 10th by the Spurs in the '88 draft. He went on to play 451 games for the Spurs from the late 80s to 1995.
- 22 years later the Spurs took James Anderson, a first-team All-American and CapHill favorite, and he showed promise early in his career for the Spurs before a fractured metatarsal sidelined him just six games into his rookie season.
- Last season the Spurs picked up Kyle Anderson with the last pick of the first round. Check out Jesus Gomez' piece about how he could still be a steal for the Spurs.