ESPN’s Chad Ford has published his Mock Draft Version 4.0. He has the Bulls taking shooting guard James Anderson of Oklahoma State. Anderson, by the way, was the Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year and a first team All-American.
Ford writes: “Anderson was one of the best scorers in college basketball and could be a very good fit in the Bulls’ backcourt. His ability to stretch the defense and attack the basket would make him a nice complement to Derrick Rose. Even if the team ends up landing LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, look for Anderson to be the guy. As far as NBA-ready players go, there are few better in this draft. I’d expect him to play the same sort of role James Harden did in OKC last season.”
According to Anderson’s ESPN draft profile, his selling points are that he has an NBA body and long arms, he’s a slasher to can draw fouls and earn trips to the line, he can shoot and has NBA three-point range (.341 3P% in 2009-10), and he rebounds well from the guard position (5.8 RPG last season). For what it’s worth, he was a big time scorer during his junior season (22.3 PPG) and is also a strong free throw shooter (.810).
As for downsides, he’s a one-dimensional scorer who won’t be jumping out of the gym any time soon, isn’t much of a ball handler and doesn’t exactly wow with his passing. Sounds a little Ben Gordon-y, right? Only Anderson is 6’6″.
Anderson might also be on Milwaukee’s radar. If the Bucks take Anderson at 15, the Bulls might be able to land shooting guard Xavier Henry of Kansas (whom Stein believes will be chosen by the Bucks). Henry played only one year of college ball, so he wasn’t the consistent, game-to-game scorer Anderson was (13.4 PPG). That said, Henry scored 27 points in his first college game, which busted the record for most points scored by a Jayhawk in a debut game as a freshman. Then, on December 12, 2009, Henry scored 31 points against LaSalle at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. That made him the first Kansas freshman to score 30 points in a game since a guy named Paul Pierce.
Upsides: Henry has good size for a two guard (6’7″), an NBA body, deep shooting range, and the ability to finish at the rim. I also love the fact that he hit .418 on threes as a freshman.
Downsides: According to his ESPN draft profile, Henry (like Anderson) isn’t an explosive athlete, isn’t solid at creating off the dribble, is a little too dependent on jump shots and doesn’t use his strength effectively. Of course, as I said, he’s a freshman. It’s natural that he’d have more flaws in his game than a junior like Anderson.
At any rate, the Bulls need a shooter/scorer at the shooting guard position. Anderson and Henry are the best SGs that could be available when the Bulls pick. Despite the fact that he didn’t hit 40 percent of his treys in college, I’m more interested in Anderson. Henry might have more upside, but he’s also a bit of a project. I think it’s more likely Anderson could come in and contribute immediately.
That said, we still have no idea what the Bulls’ plans are in terms of landing a big name free agent and filling out the rest of the roster. They could have signings and trade plans that completely alter their draft needs. But it’s still fun to speculate.