2015 NBA Draft: With the 22nd Pick, the Bulls Select…


Based off DraftExpress’ most recent 2015 NBA (mock) Draft, the folks at DX have the Chicago Bulls selecting Virginia swingman Justin Anderson with the 22nd overall selection in June. Let’s take a look at what Anderson can bring to the table.

On Tuesday night, the 2015 NBA Draft Lottery will take place in New York, and 14 teams will have a chance at the top overall selection for the draft in Brooklyn on June 25th.

After a 50-win season this year, the Chicago Bulls will have the 22nd overall pick in next month’s draft.

With a new head coach possibly coming to Chicago and potentially losing an all-star on the wing in free agency, this year’s first-round pick could be vital for future success.

Since selecting Jimmy Butler with the 30th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Bulls haven’t had a ton of luck with their first-round selections that have included the likes of Marquis Teague, Tony Snell and trading for Doug McDermott.

Sure, outside of Teague, the other two haven’t really had a chance to display their talents due to lack of minutes.

But, in a draft full of talent, the Bulls can find themselves a late first-round gem similar to Butler in 2011, and the experts over at DraftExpress have the Bulls picking a solid choice at No. 22: Virginia’s Justin Anderson.

Despite Anderson missing time because of a broken pinkie and an appendectomy during his junior season at Virginia, the Cavaliers were one of the best teams in college basketball last season when Anderson was healthy.

Anderson, a 6-foot-6 wing with long arms (6’11.25″ wingspan), was a perfect fit for defensive-minded Tony Bennett and his “pack-line defense” scheme.

"A big part of that defense has been junior Justin Anderson, a physical specimen capable of guarding multiple positions for the Cavaliers. At 6‘6“, with long arms, good quickness, and a well developed upper body, Anderson has quick enough feet to defend wings on the perimeter and enough brute strength to defend smaller players in the post.–Analysis from DX’s Derek Bodner"

What also was impressive about Anderson’s junior year at UVA was his ability to become an efficient option on the offensive end. Along with a 23.8 player efficiency rating (PER), Anderson’s true shooting percentage (TS%) was 61.0, which went along with his 57.2 effective field goal percentage (eFG%).

His offense is still a work in progress, similar to Butler’s ability to create his own offense coming out of Marquette and before this past season with the Bulls.

But, Anderson proved he can become a dual-threat in the NBA someday at times this past year. Here’s an example from an early-season meeting with Cleveland State on Anderson’s offense:

Justin Anderson receives a pass in the corner and starts to attack a closeout with a left jab step. Attacking closeouts was one of Anderson’s “Strengths” in DX’s Draft Profile. (Photo Credit: Draft Express’ Mike Schmitz)

Anderson attacks the defender closing out with a quick jab step with the left foot. Anderson’s ability to utilize the simple jab step is a big reason why he was able to shoot 63 percent around the rim in 2014-15 for Virginia.

After the quick jab to the left, Anderson attacks with his off-hand and drives towards the rim. (Photo Credit: DX’s Mike Schmitz)

Personally, one of my favorite things about Anderson’s offensive game outside of an improved jumper, is his ability to attack with either hand. He’s a natural left-handed shooter, but has no issues driving with his right hand to the basket.

Using his 6’6″ frame and athleticism, Anderson rises for a tough shot, but drains a tough 10-footer. (Photo Credit: DX’s Mike Schmitz)

Another positive about Anderson is not only his length, but his build. At 6-foot-6, 228 pounds, Anderson is built like an NBA-caliber wing already. This may not be most effective shot on the floor for this possession, but good players hit tough shots, and at the next level, you’re going to have to hit tougher shots to succeed.

Anderson uses a great job using his size and strength to rise and drill a hard mid-range jumper over the help defender seen above.

Along with his NBA-ready build, DX explained how much improvement Anderson made offensively from his first two years at UVA.

"According to Synergy Sports Technology, Anderson’s overall effectiveness on jump shots increased from 32.1%, good for 0.854 points per possession and a 43rd percentile ranking, to 39.8%, good for 1.146 points per possession and a ranking better than all but 10% of his peers. That included improvement both on jump shots off the dribble (up from 25.8% for 0.548 points per possession to 37% for 0.889) and, especially, from the catch, where he connected on an outstanding 43.7% of his shots, yielding 1.322 points per possession, a number which places him in the top 7%.Beyond the sheer numbers, the form on Anderson’s jump shot has improved dramatically, and was obviously a major point of emphasis for Anderson and the Virginia staff over the offseason. Everything from his footwork, to pre-shot preparation, shortening his motion, a tighter shooting pocket, and a more consistent release point has combined to form a much more consistent, accurate shooter from the perimeter."

Virginia’s offense wasn’t exactly the cream of the crop in college basketball last season. Despite being ranked 24th in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted offensive rankings in 2014-15, UVA’s pace was slow and pedestrian in the half-court. The Cavalier offense relied on heavy ball movement, sometimes too much movement.

Anderson’s ability to create offense off the dribble is still progressing, but is going to need work at the next level. Most of his offensive skill set comes off the ball and in transition.

Most experts foresee Anderson as a “three” (or small forward if you will) with his long arms and defensive potential, but could see some time at the off-guard spot wherever he lands next month.

Still, with a pick in the early twenties during June’s draft, drafting a player with Jimmy Butler-like tendencies isn’t a bad thing, in case the fourth-year star wants to explore his free agency options this summer.

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