Utah Jazz: UCLA’s Kyle Anderson can play, but what position?
NBA Draft • Workout with Jazz highlights his playmaking skills.
Published: June 13, 2014 04:36PM
Updated: June 13, 2014 09:54PM
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UCLA's Kyle Anderson (5) drives against Duke's Amile Jefferson (21) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, in New York. Duke won 80-63. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

The nickname first stuck to Kyle Anderson in his grammar school days.

It followed him through prep school at nationally renowned St. Anthony’s, with his AAU New Jersey Playaz program, and finally as a collegian at UCLA.

Now, “Slo Mo” is just a thing to Anderson, a 6-foot-9 position-less basketball player who can seemingly play almost every spot on the floor. It’s just another way to identify the soon-to-be NBA Draft pick.

“I’m used to it,” Anderson said. “It’s just a nickname; someone came up with and it just kind of took off.”

As the draft inches closer, Anderson is one of the most unique players on the board. He worked out with the Jazz on Friday morning, and revealed much of what the world already knew: He possesses one of the highest basketball IQs in the draft. He makes plays for others. He can handle the ball with aplomb, and he can rebound it and push it in transition.

But his lack of athleticism makes him quite difficult to read as a prospect. Simply put, “Slo Mo” is about as accurate a nickname as has been attached to a basketball player. There have been questions about which position Anderson can defend. And scouts love to ask same question: What is he, exactly?

“He’s just a basketball player, he really can’t be defined,” said Jazz VP of player personnel Walt Perrin. “He’s someone who can really play the game. He has a great feel out there.”

Anderson answered a lot of questions with a great sophomore season at UCLA, becoming a nightly triple-double threat, and developing a jump shot to keep opposing defenses honest. He became one of the best rebounders in the Pac-12, and led the Bruins to the Sweet 16.

Those are some of the reasons the Jazz are intrigued with Anderson — although the question exists whether he would be available to them with the No. 23 pick.

Perrin said Anderson is someone who can play the point offensively, but would have to guard forwards, even burly power forwards, on the other end. His ability to rebound the ball helps in this manner. And the success that Boris Diaw — his closest NBA player comparison — is having in the NBA Finals can’t hurt either.

On Friday, Anderson struggled with his shooting at times, and struggled with the altitude at other times. But he shined in the 3-on-3 portion of the workout, setting up teammates for easy baskets and looking like a playmaker.

But will “Slo Mo” be a nickname for Kyle Anderson or a term to define his NBA career? Those are the questions that scouts want to be able to answer in the next two weeks.

tjones@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tjonessltrib

NBA Draft

P Thursday, June 26, 5 p.m.

TV • ESPN