James Anderson is one player the Celtics have worked out, according to CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely. Using my own personal knowledge and a thorough research process including a few websites, most notably Draft Express and NBADraft.net, here’s a scouting report of Anderson:
Draft Express: 30th pick NBADraft.net: 19th pick (to the Celtics)
Anderson is first and foremost a scorer. Known primarily as a shooter, he is far more than that. Possessing an ability to create space and get off shots, Anderson can create off the dribble and has a nice mid-range game. The only aspect of his offensive game that is lacking is an ability to get all the way to the rim; Anderson’s ball-handling skills (especially with his right hand) leave some to be desired and often lead to him settling for jumpers rather than getting all the way to the hole. As Draft Express notes, Anderson’s lack of elite ball-handling skills can especially be a problem in transition, where Anderson can struggle to create easy opportunities at the rim. Even though Anderson struggles to find his way all the way to the hoop, he still managed to shoot a very impressive 7.8 free throws per game and maintains a very low turnover rate.
Despite what NBADraft.net describes as “the skill set of a lockdown defender with his lateral quickness, length and dedication to the defensive side of the ball,” Anderson’s defensive struggles are the biggest weakness in his game. Draft Express describes his defensive skills as follows: “The biggest chink in Anderson’s armor and the main thing holding him back from being able to project him as an outstanding NBA role-player has always been his play on the defensive end. Unfortunately, not much seems to have changed this year. Anderson isn’t much of a presence at all on the perimeter, looking very upright in his stance and showing below average lateral quickness, getting beat on a regular basis off the dribble by fairly mediocre college slashers. He doesn’t use his body well enough, lacks a significant degree of physicality in his approach, and does not utilize his length at all to contest opponents’ shots. It’s possible that Anderson looks this way in part due to the fact that he’s trying to stay out of foul trouble or because of how heavily Oklahoma State relies on him offensively. Still, it’s not a very encouraging sign when projecting him to the NBA level.”
Overall, despite the defensive deficiencies he showed in college, Anderson is an intriguing prospect because of his ability to put the ball in the hole. Though his statistics could have been slightly inflated by playing in the high-octane and wide-open offense utilized by coach Travis Ford, Anderson’s uber-efficient 22.3 ppg on 45.7% shooting demand attention. In my eyes, he’s also a hit-or-miss type prospect: He could either become a very good scorer in the NBA or his shortcomings (notably, ball-handling and defensive chops) could keep him from ever reaching his full potential.
With the Celtics picking 19th and suddenly lacking both big men (due to Rasheed Wallace’s potential retirement and Kendrick Perkins’ injury) and wing players (Ray Allen, Tony Allen and Marquis Daniels are all free agents and Paul Pierce could opt out of his contract), Anderson would fit a need should Danny Ainge like his game.