NBA Draft Watch: James Anderson and Xavier Henry

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.

More James Anderson:
DraftExpress profile profile
Wikipedia entry

More Xavier Henry:
DraftExpress profile profile
Wikipedia entry

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11 Responses to NBA Draft Watch: James Anderson and Xavier Henry

    Sam June 10, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

    It was Chad Ford who wrote that article, not Marc Stein just FYI. Good piece otherwise =)

  2. Ryan June 10, 2010 at 4:30 pm #

    Sounds good. Length for a 2-guard is a great quality due to the fact that players can use length to defend better, disrupt passing lanes, alter/block shots, and shoot over smaller guards. Both of these guys fit the bill. That was the main reason I thought a guy like Joe Johnson would be a good fit… like a Tayshaun Prince/Ben Gordon player. As mentioned in the past – Is he worth max money?

    Adrian June 10, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    I would take Xavier Henry in a second over James Anderson. Reason being Henry has the potential to be one of the best on ball defenders in the league, he has length: 6’6.5″ as SG with a 6’11.25 wingspan; and he is built like a Brick Shit House, with good athleticism. He also has good offensive potential, he had one of the best shooting percentages in the draft combine, 80% college 3’s and 52% from NBA 3’s, and 70% overall. While James Anderson hit only 52%, 36%, and 58% respectively. Now this may just be one drill, and his college accolades don’t lie but shouldn’t someone who is supposed to be a knockdown shooter hit a little higher than 36% in practice with no hand in the face. I james anderson isn’t that athletic and doesn’t have handles, like everyone is saying, and on top of that isn’t really a pure shooter, couldn’t he just end up being one of those players who’s game doesn’t transition to the pros?

    Henry on the other hand really has no knocks to his game other than his ability of the dribble… which he wont have to do much of with Roses penetration. If we pick up another big time scorer, I could see Henry really thriving with all the open looks he’d get.

    Unfortunately unless Milwaukee falls in love with James Anderson’s college stats and performances, Im afraid we might be stuck with Him, I just hope that Im wrong In thinking he won’t succeed In the pros.

    Brad S. June 10, 2010 at 6:39 pm #

    I have seen draft boards with Henry going pretty high and I would be surprised if he was there when the Bulls get to pick. I have also seen some off-the-court stuff on Xavier and he seems like a decent dude, which means he isn’t giving other teams a lot of reason to let him slide. Mr Anderson, on the other hand, is a junior with less perceived upside and I could see him falling to the Bulls.

    While I wouldn’t be upset with the Bulls taking Anderson or Henry, I wouldn’t rule out a highly rated SF or big that slid down the draft, either. Any of those would give the Bulls some versatility to make deals for the upcoming season. Obviously, I wish the Bulls were sitting at pick #15 instead of pick #17, but I still think they are in a good position because they don’t NEED anyone they pick to be the difference maker at any position. That gives GarPaxDorf increadible power and versatility in who they select.

    Tony C. June 11, 2010 at 1:54 am #

    As silly as it may sound, I’d try to trade up in order to take (forward) Ekpe Udoh. He strikes me as a potentially outstanding player…

    bullsfandom June 11, 2010 at 3:23 am #

    No matter how good Udoh may turn out to be, I’d rather we saved our trade assets for pulling off a sign and trade for a second big name (or even to help ensure we get a superstar like Lebron in the first place)

    Dj June 12, 2010 at 8:44 pm #

    I think the Bulls need to draft a big guy over a SG this summer in case Brad Miller does not come back or he retires and if Omer Asik the Bulls 2008 draft pick is still unhealthy to play.

    Beside this years draft as a lot of good talented big guys that can play in the NBA level.

    Dj June 12, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    Someone like: DEMARCUS COUSINS, GREG MONROE, Hassan Whiteside or Ekpe Udoh.

    bill thomas June 13, 2010 at 2:49 am #

    I see your point Dj but, if Brad Miller or Omer Asik sign back with the Bulls healthy then it would be point less to go after another big guy this summer.

    I like ESPN’s Chad Ford idea of either signing a Tall SG like; Xavier Henry or James Anderson as a backup to Hinrich. If it was up to make I would take Xavier Henry since he is a better 3 point shooter then Anderson. AND the Bulls need a guy like that, kind of like what BG did for use last season.

    reggie June 13, 2010 at 4:20 am #

    Great point bullsfandom I also share the same wish that the bulls pull there picks together for this year and next year and maybe go after a good or great player if need be throw in kurt or last resort deng just to sweeten the pot but they must make sure they get great value if the players are also thrown in as the trade in order to complete it just not sure of who they want or who may be intrested in there offer . Our biggest need is a pure outside shooter with some ht if avalible.
    As far is LBJ goes if he comes fine if not the bulls best have there plan B, C and if needed D ready to move on and not wait too long toget them in motion or they miss out on all the good or great players.Peace


  1. NBA Draft Watch: Potential draftees » By The Horns - June 22, 2010

    […] James Anderson: I’ve already covered this guy. […]

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