NCAA Basketball: Southern California at UCLA

I’m on vacation in Chicago at the moment, so I’m largely offline. But┬ájust before I hit the road I made a wager that I want to record someplace persistent. With the 30th pick in the NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs selected Kyle Anderson from UCLA. If you look at Arturo Galletti’s Draft breakdown at BoxscoreGeeks, you’ll see that he was rated the 8th best prospect available by Arturo’s model. What’s more, he’s a forward-sized player who likes to have the ball in his hands and run the offense as a pass-first point guard. And he’s on the record as appreciating the Spurs style of play, and wanting to play for them. So all signs point to this being yet another Spurs draft-day steal. Arturo and I are both impressed with the pick.

Where we differ is in how much of an impact we think Anderson is likely to have next year. Arturo, presumably on the basis of Anderson’s numbers, thinks that he will become a rotation player with the Spurs immediately. I disagree. I think that (a) Gregg Popovich is historically slow to trust rookies who aren’t named Tim Duncan, and (b) if the Spurs manage to retain Boris Diaw and Patty Mills, then they will be bringing back a team that just won a championship and already know how to play together. With the team focus being to repeat as champions, and the oft-commented complexity of the Spurs system, I see Anderson as a deep bench player next year at best. I think he might even spend more time with the Toros than the Spurs. On Twitter, Arturo and I decided to bet a day’s charity work on Anderson’s minutes:

  • If Kyle Anderson plays more than 1700 minutes for the Spurs, barring injury, Arturo wins. I put in a day for the charity of his choice.
  • If Kyle Anderson plays fewer than 1200 minutes for the Spurs, barring injury, I win. Arturo puts in a day for the charity of my choice.
  • If Kyle Anderson’s minutes are between 1200 and 1700, or he gets injured, or someone ahead of him in the lineup gets injured, it’s a push.

For my part, I feel like I’ll win either way. If Anderson plays the role I expect, I win the bet. If I lose the bet, it’s because my team got a new, young player who’s so good he forced his way into the rotation as a rookie on a championship team. I’ll be pleased with either outcome.