Rashad Anderson NBA Draft Scouting Report

Rashad Anderson NBA Draft Scouting Report
May 10, 2006, 03:00 am
Anderson is a catch and shoot offensive specialist. He is very effective at coming off screens, catching the ball and getting his shot off, all in one quick, fluid motion. He knows how to use screens properly to free himself for open jump shots. He is very smart at running the wings aggressively on the break and can be very dangerous in transition because of it. His off the ball movement is absolutely superb.

Anderson has one of the prettiest jump shots in this year’s draft. Even though a majority of his shots will come from behind the 3-point line, after you see his jumper you can see why that is the case. Anderson gets great elevation on his jump shot, jumping higher than most shooters off the ground and because of that his release point is higher and thus becomes more difficult to block. His footwork is superb, allowing him to hit step-back threes, short pull-ups, and other jump-shots that make him more than just a threat on the catch and shoot. He also has a lightning quick release; really not needing that much room to get himself free. Even though he has a quick release, his technique does not get decreased when he quickly shoots the basketball. Simply put, Anderson is a deadly outside shooter that has picture perfect form on his jump shot.

When he puts his mind to it he can be a decent perimeter defender. He moves his feet well from side to side and has the smarts to stay in front of most SGs at the college level. Although he does have some trouble in other areas on defense, he has the potential to at least not be a liability as on the ball defender at the next level.

What makes Anderson an interesting prospect is that fact that he has a long history of hitting very clutch jump shots in very big games. If he was just a jump shooter that has had success over the years, it would be doubtful of him having any chance of being drafted. However, with team he played for and the resume of hitting big shots he has put together in the past few seasons, his stock is higher than it normally would be for a player with his skill level because of his recognizability. He is a big time role player in that regard, as everyone in the country knows that he has great potential to come off the bench and hit big shots in important games.

Another feather in Anderson’s camp as far as the pros should be concerned is the fact that over the years he has basically been a 6th man off the bench--rarely did he consistently start—and to his credit he never really complained about that role. He took it on, embraced it, and was a team player for a very talented UCONN basketball team that won a huge amount of games in his four years there. He was the leading 6th man scorer in the entire country this past season.

Mental toughness is one of his biggest strengths. Although he is comfortable being a role player, his mentality and confidence is that of a star’s. His belief in himself to be able to knock down big shots never wavers, and the possibility of an extended shooting slump is simply not an option for him. He will take any shot at any time, fully believing that every single one will go in for him.

Athletically Anderson is not an elite athlete by any means. Even though he jumps quite high on his jump shot, he does not display the same type of leaping ability when attacking the basket. Part of the reason he does not go to the basket that often also stems from his lack of great athletic ability, particularly his explosiveness and lack of quickness in his first step.

Anderson also wasn’t ever in great shape as a college player, particularly after the health problems he encountered as a junior. Slimming down and getting his body in optimal shape will help him maximize his already underwhelming athletic ability. At 6-4 or 6-5, his size is certainly not ideal.

Anderson also does not really create well off the dribble, being quite a bit less effective when forced to put the ball on the floor. He is a very shaky ball handler at times and he would be a lot better prospect if he could create shots for himself off more than just one or two short dribbles leading into a pull-up jumper. He does not get to the basket that well because he does not create much separation off the dribble and he does not have a good arsenal of ball-handling moves to use. With his great jump shooting, if he had shown any ability to create off the dribble he would be a much higher draft pick. Because of his poor handle, at times it appears he doesn’t have the coordination or timing to finish difficult lay-ups. Much of this has to do with the fact that defenders can gain ground on him quite easily due to his lack of quickness, and his shaky handle and lack of an explosive vertical leap makes getting to the basket and finishing strong much tougher on him. It wouldn’t be an insult to call him a one-dimensional player.

It’s difficult to find 6th men type role players in the NCAA without amazing upside who found a way to get picked in the NBA draft. Andersen has always been a role player in college, which does not bode well for him at the next level where all the players almost are former college stars or superstars. The team he played for and the amount of NBA talent he always had alongside him has plenty to do with that, but that still leaves question marks about his true talent level. Anderson has played some of his best games against worst competition and he has had some of his biggest offensive outputs either when UCONN is blowing a team out, or when they are getting blowout.

In terms of passing, he is certainly more of a finisher than a creator. Once he gets the ball, it’s rare to see it come back. He will look to shoot first and foremost, and if anything he will more likely
shoot than pass. If a team wants a gunner, that will be accepted, however if they don’t, his shoot-first mentality might not be tolerated.

Defensively he is not very aggressive. He will usually shy away from contact and he is not very emphatic going after rebounds at all. Instead he will look to leak out and run the wings. His inability to get tough down low also effects is lack of rebounding ability. In terms of on-ball defense, he is adequate at times, however he turns his pressure on and off and is not very consistent and is far from being a defensive stopper. His lack of size and quickness hurt him in this area.

Played for possibly the best team in the country over the past few years in UConn.

Very consistent, never averaged more than 25 minutes per game in his four year career, but still managed to average between 11-13 points in each of his last three years in college. Excluding his junior year in which he suffered through a terrible skin disease, he always shot between 39-41% from behind the arc on a large amount of attempts. His contribution in other parts of the stat-sheet were always very minimal.

If Anderson did not have a history of hitting clutch shots in
big time games, there would be little doubt he’d go drafted. However because of his proven willingness to come off the bench and change the game with his incredible shooting ability, he now has a chance to get drafted if a team feels they have a role for him and that he is value in the 2nd round. Regardless, he will get many looks in summer league and training camp and could even be better off going undrafted, as he’d be able to survey the league and decide where he’d have his best chance of sticking.

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