It is a smart move by point guard Kevin Anderson to declare for the 2010 NBA Draft, but it would be unwise for him to stay in it.
Anderson declared for the draft on Monday and announced that he will not hire an agent which will allow him to return to Richmond for his senior season if he withdraws his name by May 8. And he should.
That is not to say that Anderson isn’t good enough. Anybody who watched his games against Xavier and Temple in the Atlantic 10 Tournament know how good of a player Anderson is. But Anderson isn’t NBA ready yet.
He is listed at 6-feet tall, but he may be smaller. If he gets to the NBA — either this year or next year — he needs to be exceptional in one area of his game to make up for his lack of height.
Right now, the best aspect of his game is his quickness and his ability to get off shots. But in the NBA where players are bigger, stronger and all-around more athletic, that ability will be severely tested. It’s one thing to get off a shot when a player from St. Bonaventure is in your face, it’s another to try to get a shot past Dwight Howard.
But that’s where declaring for the draft is a good idea for Anderson. He gets the opportunity to workout in front of NBA teams and get feedback on his game. It’s there that he will learn what he needs to work on to become a better player.
One thing that will probably come up is how Anderson sometimes disappeared for games. For the most part, Anderson could be counted on to score 15 points, but there were times when he would not score. In back-to-back games against Saint Louis and Saint Joseph’s, Anderson scored a combined 15 points. Even though both games were won by Richmond, his output was concerning.
Even the coaches got on Anderson for not appearing to be into games.
Another thing Anderson must work on is limiting his turnovers. He led the team with 83 turnovers, but those will happen to you when you play the point guard position for 37 minutes per night. He ended the season with a 1.1-1 assist-to-turnover ratio and in order to be a point guard in the NBA, that needs to get better.
Anderson will probably learn this and more from NBA scouts and he will become a better player. Just look at the transformation in Maryland point guard Grevis Vasquez. He declared for the 2009 NBA Draft as a fiery point guard whose emotions took control of him which led to bad basketball decisions and a sour relationship with Maryland fans. Vasquez pulled out of the draft and returned to Maryland last year for his senior season with controlled emotions. By the end of the year, Vasquez was getting national attention for his maturity, something that he was told that he needed to have in order to play in the NBA.
While Anderson does not have to worry about letting his emotions cause some bad decisions — it sometimes doesn’t look like Anderson has emotions on the court — he does have some areas in which he can improve. And as long as he doesn’t get tempted by the promise of a big contract, it is a smart idea for Anderson to declare.
Anderson is already a great player — he was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American — and will only get better through the draft process.