Situational Statistics: This Yearís Small Forward Crop June 12, 2010 James Anderson was nothing short of spectacular last season, and it shows here. His 1.07 overall PPP ranks second amongst all players, as do his 20 possessions used per-game. He was above the PPP every in every situation except for guarded catch and shoot situations, and has more experience running the pick and roll (2.9 Pos/G) than any other player on our rankings. High usage/high-efficiency players are extremely difficult to come by, and NBA teams may want to ponder if theyíre missing the boat on Anderson due to the fact that he has not been spectacular in workouts. The same thing happened last year with Marcus Thornton. [Read Full Article] NBA Combine Interviews: Henry, Anderson, Babbitt, Jones, Robinson May 24, 2010
West Coast Workout Swing Part 3: Joe Abunassar's Impact Basketball May 19, 2010 Joseph Treutlein
The highest ranked player of anyone in our mock draft in attendance in Vegas, James Anderson did about what youíd expect him to do here, doing a great job knocking down jumpers in both drills and scrimmages, showing off his impressive offensive talent level. Overall, he didnít wow as much as some here, but the scrimmages probably arenít the best setting for him, as heís used to having plays run for him and coming off tons of screens at Oklahoma State, with his game being better suited for structured 5-on-5 action.
In drills, Anderson looked excellent, knocking down spot-up threes with ease and looking very smooth coming around screens, not surprising given his resume. He didnít fare as well in scrimmages, however, not getting many open shots from his teammates and having to create virtually all of his offense out of isolations, which he did with mixed results. Many of the players here are a notch above Anderson athletically, and thatís something he didnít seem to adjust to especially well in this setting, though it could have just been a bad day.
Looking forward, Anderson appears firmly in discussions in the middle of the first round, and teams will be aware that 5-on-5 games are more conducive to his playing style than informal scrimmages heading into workouts. Anderson will likely play in many 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 scrimmages during team workouts, so it will be interesting to see how he adjusts, but heís probably not a player that is going to show you all he is capable of in that kind of setting. [Read Full Article] NCAA Weekly Performers, 3/4/10 March 4, 2010 Jonathan Givony
Largely overlooked in preseason Big 12 player of the year discussions going into the season, James Anderson has managed to emerge as the runaway favorite for the award, despite playing in the same conference as a number of top NBA prospects. That should begin to tell you the type of junior season Anderson is having, and subsequently helps explain his steady rise up NBA draft boards.
Not the most fluid or dynamic athlete youíll find at the collegiate level, Anderson nevertheless manages to produce in an incredibly prolific and efficient way. Out of the 35 players sporting the highest usage rates (the percentage of their teamís overall possessions they garner) in college basketball, Anderson ranks as the most efficient player around, which is a testament to how important he is to Oklahoma Stateís NCAA tournament hopes.
Anderson is clearly the centerpiece of the Cowboysí offense, as they run him off a huge number of screens on virtually every possession in an attempt to get him open looks. Staggers, flairs, curls, down-screensóany shot they can get him with his feet set is a good possession for them. Andersonís shooting ability is simply outstanding, as he boasts excellent form, consistent mechanics, a quick release, and terrific range on his jump-shot. Despite shooting just 36% from beyond the arc this season (more an indication of the type of defenses that are thrown at him than anything), Anderson projects as a high-level NBA shooter any way you slice it when looking at the way he can put the ball in the net.
More than just a spot-up shooter, about a third of Andersonís jumpers come off the dribble, of which he converts an excellent 43.4% according to Synergy Sports Technology. At 6-6, he needs very little space to get his shot off, as despite getting just average elevation on his jumper, he is able to fade away and create enough separation from his defender to get a good look, while still holding his mechanics steady.
These are all things we knew last year, though. Perhaps more impressive about the season Anderson is having is how often heís getting to the free throw line. He ranks #1 among all likely wing prospects in this draft in that category on a per-minute basis, and converts an excellent 80% of his attempts once there.
Not sporting an amazing first step, Anderson takes a measured approach to his slashing game, letting things come to him and playing the game at his own unique pace. Heís very under control and thus turns the ball over at an extremely low rate considering how heavy of an offensive load heís forced to shoulder. Whatís interesting is that he appears to be extremely limited driving to his right (he drives left 86% of the time according to Synergy Sports Technology), but still doesnít let them affect him too much, as teams are so concerned with his jump-shot that they are often more than willing to concede him driving to the basket.
The biggest chink in Andersonís 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 isnít 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 doesnít use his body well enough, lacks a significant degree of physicality in his approach, and does not utilize his length at all to contest opponentsí shots.
Itís possible that Anderson looks this way in part due to the fact that heís trying to stay out of foul trouble or because of how heavily Oklahoma State relies on him offensively. Still, itís not a very encouraging sign when projecting him to the NBA level. Teams will need to study this part of his game closely in private workouts to see if he has more potential in this area than heís currently showing, as itís an important factor considering his likely role in the NBA.
Regardless of his flaws on the defensive end, Anderson is having an outstanding junior season and has improved his NBA draft stock considerably from where it was last year. Looking at the success that a player like Marcus Thornton is having as an NBA rookie, you have to wonder if Anderson canít at least be as good as him, considering that heís two inches taller. In a draft that is looking exceptionally shallow at the traditional 2-3 swingman position, Anderson at the moment stands out as one of the best options available. [Read Full Article]
USA Basketball Junior National Teams Tryouts: Top Performers June 20, 2009 James Anderson didnít play up to the expectations he created with his excellent sophomore season at Oklahoma State, but was taken onto the roster based on his terrific catch and shoot ability. After a slow start, he emerged as one of the more reliable perimeter shooters on the team in terms of spotting up with his feet set, but beyond that he seemed to struggle. Andersonís ball-handling skills are still very much a work in progress, and in a setting like this where there are no plays called for him and the spacing is often poor, he is mostly ineffective. His drives looked wild and he seemed to turn the ball over frequently when forced to put the ball on the deck. [Read Full Article] NCAA Weekly Performers, 3/3/09 March 3, 2009 After making a splash in the Big 12 as a sweet shooting freshman last year, James Anderson has developed into a big time scorer in his second season with the Cowboys. Despite seeing just a minimal increase in playing time, the sophomore has experienced significant increases in every major statistical category and has upped his three-point shooting percentage nearly five percent.
Even though Anderson has made such substantial jumps in his production this season, there havenít been any drastic changes to his overall game since we last took a look at him. He is still a perimeter shooter first and foremost, with half of his shot attempts coming from beyond the arc, as was the case last season. While he is certainly at his best when he can catch and shoot, Anderson is pretty effective shooting off the dribble, able to get good elevation under his shot. There is no question now that he is a top flight perimeter shooter, connecting on 42.5% of his over six attempts per game from this range.
The biggest hindrance for Anderson continues to be his less than stellar ball-handling skills, particularly with his right hand. An excellent athlete, he is able to compensate a lot of the time thanks to his quickness off the dribble and ability to improvise while in the air, but improving this aspect of his game would make him a much more dangerous scorer. What proved to be a problem last year has continued to be one this year, as Anderson loses out on a lot of scoring opportunities in transition as a result of his ball handling skills. Even with sagging defensive pressure on the break, he tends to be a straight line dribbler who doesnít show much propensity for changing direction to improve his angle of attack. His size and athleticism allow Anderson to score more often than he should in these situations at the collegiate level, but he will more than have his work cut out for him against NBA caliber defenders if he canít improve his ability to create. An added bonus to Andersonís game this year has been his increased hustle and production on the offensive glass. The sophomore is averaging more than two offensive rebounds per game, a good number for a player who spends the overwhelming majority of his time on the perimeter.
Defensively, Anderson is still very much a committed player. He works hard as both an on and off the ball defender, and the added weight he put on this season has allowed him to do a better job of fighting through screens, something he struggled with as a freshman. It is clear that he has become a smarter defender as well and his instincts have made definite strides, resulting in an increased number of steals and blocked shots this season. At times last year Anderson would seem to lose track of his assignment on the floor, but he seems to have cut down on these mental lapses in the later part of this season. Overall, with his size, athleticism and wingspan, he is a very pesky defender who shows improving instincts at this end of the floor.
Anderson certainly has made improvements to his game, most obviously his perimeter shooting. The sophomore has a great nose for the basket and has proven he can put up impressive numbers against elite competition (35 points vs. Texas) on a regular basis. By far the biggest step to address next is improving his ball-handling skills, which are severely hindering his potential in several aspects of his offensive game. With the size, athleticism and shooting prowess that Anderson brings to the table he is going to be an enticing prospect to teams at the next level; developing the ability to score more effectively off the dribble will only push his name up the draft board. There is some talk that Anderson might decide to throw his name in this yearís draft, but he might be selling himself short by doing so, as next season could truly be a breakout year for both him and Oklahoma State. [Read Full Article]
Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big 12 (Part One: #1-5) September 2, 2008 After a solid, but unspectacular freshman season, James Anderson still probably isnít a name that easily rolls off the tongue of most college basketball enthusiasts, but itís pretty safe to say that heís going to become much more familiar over the next year or two.
With a new coach in place in Travis Ford, and a full season underneath his belt, Anderson seems to have the raw talent and physical attributes to develop into a very solid option for Oklahoma State in his sophomore season. Heís got good size for the wing, an excellent frame, a nice wingspan, and terrific athleticism to complete a pretty intriguing initial picture. Anderson got most of his points as a freshman playing off the ball, running the floor in transition and crashing the offensive glass, but he can also really shoot the ball, knocking down 38% of his 5.4 attempts per game from beyond the arc.
In fact, over 50% of Andersonís field goal attempts came from beyond the arc, which helps begin to explain one of his biggest weaknesses at the momentóhis poor ball-handling skills. Anderson drives almost exclusively left when he puts the ball on the floor, and doesnít seem to have the advanced dribbling skills needed to change directions or pull-up off the dribble if the defense rotates over to stop him. He often looks out of control by the time he gets to the rim (although heís often athletic enough to get away with it) and is not really capable of creating his own shot on the fly from the perimeter the way most NBA wing players are expected to.
Anderson looks to have some significant offensive talent looking purely at his instincts and feel for putting the ball in the net, but he has a great deal of room to improve on his overall polish, not to mention his passing and rebounding ability. Considering how young he is, that doesnít come as a huge shock.
Defensively, Anderson didnít seem to be playing like a freshman in the later games of the season we watched of his. After starting off the season looking inconsistent in his effort and not always all that aware of whatís going on around him, he seemed to improve later in the Big 12 slate. He seemed to show more of a commitment on this end of the floor, getting low into a fundamental stance, while being aided greatly by his excellent physical tools. His frame could still use some work as we saw at times by the way he got caught trying to fight through screens, which seemed to put his entre teamís defense at a disadvantage. Heís not immune to suffering momentary lapses of judgment on this end of the floor, so weíll have to see what kind of progress he continues to make here.
In short, there is a lot to work with, and a lot for Anderson to work on, so how quickly he makes it to the NBA will probably largely depend on how productive he becomes both individually and collectively with his teammates at Oklahoma State. [Read Full Article] NCAA Weekly Performers, 2/26/08-- Part One February 27, 2008 Despite being named a McDonaldís All-American out of high school, Oklahoma State freshman James Anderson is still somewhat flying under the radar as far as the national media is concerned. However, with averages of 14 points per game on 39% shooting from the perimeter, he has surely solidified his billing as an instant impact player. With that said, he is still only beginning to establish himself as a future NBA wing player.
Anderson certainly passes the eye test in terms of an NBA shooting guard. He is a lanky 6í6Ē with a nice wingspan and frame, but could still afford to put on some weight. In terms of athleticism, Anderson has a nice first step and solid leaping ability, but does not look quite like the elite athlete he was billed as by some recruiting services out of high school. That being said, he still clearly possesses the physical tools to play in the NBA down the road.
Anderson is an offensive player and a threat to score just about any time the ball is in his hands. His perimeter game is the most polished skill in his offensive repertoire. Simply put, Anderson can shoot the basketball. While his overall form has proven to be quite inconsistent at times, when Anderson shoots the ball properly, getting good elevation, displaying a high and quick release, and most importantly, jumping straight into the air, his shot is beautiful.
Another interesting aspect of his perimeter game is his adaptability and creativity. Anderson can hit shots from just about anywhere and in just about any position. Watching him drain fade away three-point jumpshots from well beyond the three-point line is impressive. His streakiness from game to game looks to be a product of his youth and inconsistent shooting motion, and likely will improve over time. Simply put, Anderson has the potential to be an absolute sniper at the next level if he works on refining his jump-shot.
Elsewhere on the offensive end, Anderson also shows a good deal of potential. While he is averaging only 3.5 free-throw attempts per game, Anderson occasionally shows some aggressiveness attacking the basket. One aspect of his slashing game is his ability and skillfulness at drawing contact in the lane. Using his good body control, Anderson frequently adjusts his shot to include arm or body contact with his defender. This is evident in his developing mid-range game, as well. Anderson does a good job of recognizing and anticipating his defenderís movement and shows the ability to pull up for jumpshots, which, like his perimeter shot, display inconsistent form to the tune of a passable 44% field goal percentage. Andersonís basketball IQ looks to be still developing, but a more recent development in his offensive game has been in the post, where he occasionally backs down his man into the post and uses his size and strength to score on a strong move.
While Andersonís offensive potential and versatility is tantalizing, there is one significant problem: his ball-handling skills are very poor. According to Synergy Sports Technology, he drives left 83.3% of the time and that, combined with his loose and high handle, severely limit his offensive game. When watching him play, there are points in which his handle stunts his decision making ability, because he is too nervous and uncomfortable dribbling the ball. Dribbling the ball towards the rim, he is often out of control by the time he reaches the basket, which does not allow him to get off a clean shot. For him to blossom into an elite wing player at the collegiate level, he must continue to develop his handle and work on becoming comfortable using either hand and advanced moves to create his own shot.
Another aspect of his game that he must improve is defense. Though he has the physical and athletic potential, combined with good lateral quickness that suggest he could become a solid defender at this, as well as the next, level, his focus too often wanes and he is often a non-factor. This is evidenced in his extremely poor 3.4 rebounds per game in 31 minutes. He certainly has the athleticism and size to be a factor on the boards, but the effort and focus just is not there yet. This is another area in which improvement is essential if Anderson wants to maximize his potential.
While James Anderson has a long way to go, his physical tools and scorerís mentality speak volumes about his potential. He has definitely cemented a reputation as one of the most productive freshmen in the country, and must break out of his recent shooting slump to finish his freshman campaign strong. Right now, he looks to be a three-year prospect, and with the Oklahoma State Cowboys looking like they have the potential to challenge next year in the Big 12, Andersonís improvement is all but necessary for his team to win, but also essential if he wants to maximize his high potential to be a scoring threat at the next level. [Read Full Article]