Justin Anderson – The best Cavalier since Sampson?

A lot of scouts have been impressed in workouts with Justin Anderson. (Photo credit to nbccollegebasketballtalk.com)
A lot of scouts have been impressed in workouts with Justin Anderson. (Photo credit to nbccollegebasketballtalk.com)

The Virginia Cavaliers men’s basketball program doesn’t have the track record like other ACC powers, such as Duke or North Carolina, when it comes to college players making it big in the pros.

There is a chance that Justin Anderson could become the best Cavalier in the NBA since Houston Rockets drafted Ralph Sampson with the No. 1 pick in the 1983 draft.

Yes, he could be very good.

One thing that will deter some teams is Anderson’s age. He will be 22 soon, but I don’t view his age as a bad thing.

Because he spent three years in college, he was able to improve his skills and body to the point where he could make an immediate impact on a playoff team.

He is a solid 230 pounds and has good athleticism. He has a 6-foot-11 wingspan and he is only 6’6.”

The Cavaliers played at one of the slowest paces in the country as they averaged just fewer than 52 field goal attempts per game. Despite that, Anderson was very good in transition. According to DraftExpress, Anderson 1.5 points per possession in transition.

On film, I saw a very good ability to attack the rim and, when he attacks the hoop, he tries to tear it down. He had some vicious finishes, and even went through some opponents.

Of course, I couldn’t help but notice that Anderson is a lefty. He is very tough when he drives to the basket. He uses his strength to power through defenders, even when he is off-balance. However, it’s hard to knock him off-balance because of his strength.

When he got to Virginia, he wasn’t a good shooter. In three years, he has improved his percentage from beyond the arc. As a freshman, he shot 30.3 percent; sophomore 29.4 percent; junior 45.2 percent. This past season, he attempted the most three-pointers in his time as a Cavalier, over 100 three-pointers (104 to be exact), and turned in his highest shooting percentage.

DraftExpress highlighted that he simplified his mechanics from his sophomore year to his junior year. His mechanics are still a little iffy, but his shot looks a lot better than it did. He has a lot more balance and jumps more straight up and down.

He averaged 12.2 points per game and four rebounds this season. He missed eight games due to a hand injury and an unexpected appendectomy. Prior to that, Anderson had been injury-free.

My two questions about him is what position he will play in the NBA and can he guard small forwards? He played small forward at Virginia. I view him as a “tweener.” When it is all said and done, I think he be a shooting guard.

NBADraft.net compared Anderson to P.J. Tucker and Xavier Henry. I think the Tucker comparison is correct. I think Anderson could be a pretty tough defender, but I don’t know if he will become a lock-down defender like Tucker has become, kind of.

Anderson struggles with creating his own offense, but if he is on a team that has a playmaker, I think he will be fine. I don’t see him ever becoming a No. 1 option on offense, or even No. 2.

I have Anderson headed to the Washington Wizards with the No. 19 pick. While the Wizards have Otto Porter, I don’t think they can afford to pass on a player like Anderson. Playing with John Wall and Bradley Beal would make things easy for Anderson.

I don’t have much else to say about Anderson, so I think I will close my profile on him.

I think he has a good chance to become a valuable player for the franchise that drafts him. Because he stayed in school for three years it will make his adjustment to the NBA easier.


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