Let's forget, for a moment, everything that happened to our three great Bruin first-rounders on and before March 27, 2014. That's the day we lost to Florida in the Sweet 16. Oh, and by the way, Billy Donovan had three players participate in this year's draft process, and none of them were selected.
Let's get past that, and that Alford screwed LaVine. I want you to vote for the Bruin, Zach LaVine, Jordan Adams or Kyle Anderson, that you think will have the most career NBA success. I know that's a bit vague, but roll with it.
The question is harder than it seems. Sure, the two obvious answers would be 1) Zach LaVine, we've been raving about his NBA-level athleticism and potential for eight months now or 2) Nobody, because two of them can't jump more than 30 inches off the ground and the other one is low on the basketball IQ side. In any case, I'll soldier on and give you a little analysis and a pick.
Zach LaVine has out-of-the gym leaping ability, great height for a guard, cat-like reflexes, great lateral mobility, a quick release and good speed. He's potentially unguardable by most NBA defenders, especially shorter guards. However, he doesn't go to the hoop in traffic enough, doesn't play defense, doesn't know where to stand without the ball, and has made many bad mistakes, mostly fouls, at the end of close games. He was said to be drafted on potential by one of the worst organizations in the NBA. Flip Saunders is calling him a shooting guard so maybe he doesn't have to sit behind the two existing point guards, but I would be suspicious of Minnesota's ability to develop him. There are always exceptions, but there is a new draft every year with fresh talent. Potential doesn't necessarily ever arrive.
I had the least hope for Jordan Adams, but after reading about Memphis' Moneyball-like analytics, I'm wondering if they saw a real fit. Adam's limitations are known, but he has a sweet stroke and quick release, a nose for the ball, and he actually played lock-down defense on several important occasions under Howland. They need a catch-and-shoot guard, and he is one.
Kyle Anderson was drafted by the best organization in the NBA. Popovich has worked magic with a core that has been there forever and looked to be over-the-hill along with pieces like 2011 #15 pick (by Indiana) Kawhi Leonard, who turned out to be the MVP of The Finals. If development was required, then Kyle is in the perfect place. The speed and athleticism issues may or may not have been overblown in light of Kyle's high basketball IQ, but the real question has always been: who will he guard? It certainly won't be any guard. Power forward is doubtful too as Kyle measured in at 6'7 ½" at the Combine. While not every small forward is going to be Kevin Durant, Kyle will have to show something on defense that he is yet to show.
I said in my overall Draft winners and losers recap that sometimes the so-called safe pick is, in fact, the best pick - I like Milwaukee's Jabari Parker for Rookie of the Year. So I expect Zach to top this poll. That said, I'm very tempted to go with the dark horse candidate, Jordan Adams, as I've become more intrigued with his fit at Memphis. Actually, I will say that he will have the biggest immediate impact, but I will go with Kyle Anderson for the 2014 Bruin draftee to have the best NBA career.