Evaluating Denzel Andersson

May 12, 2018

by Alan Lu

This time, I took the opportunity to scout BC LF Lufea’s 6-8 forward, Denzel Andersson from Sweden, as he had impressed me with his performance early in the season in a BCL Qualification game he played against Antwerp, so I decided to watch more film on him.  I was able to watch him play in two games, one that was on October 10th against Norrkoping with thanks to YouTube via Tyrell Bellot-Green, and another that was on March 15th against Boras Basket with thanks to YouTube via Duran International Film, as both were contests that were played in the Swedish Basketligan.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared in both of these matches combined, as well as how his skills may translate to the NBA.

Denzel Andersson is an athletic, high-motor player that will compete to make plays on both ends of the floor, and he is a combination forward that has the versatility to help his team in a number of ways.  He possesses the knack to score often on cuts to the basket.  Andersson will make quick backdoor cuts to the hoop, and he has very good hands to catch lob passes, as he can deftly score on off-ball motion plays.  Also, he will run the floor to give his teammates an option to pass to on the break.

Also, Andersson did a good job of scoring in the post.  He has fairly good strength, as he can back down his opponents, and early on against Norrkoping, he managed to use a pivot move to score on a drop step against a smaller defender.  Another time against Boras Basket, he managed to pivot to draw free throws on a strong drop step move.  However, there was one occasion where after running the floor, he opted to post up, but missed on a step-through off the glass, as he was unable to find a good banking angle that time.

However, he did not make any of his three-point shots in either of these games, though both times, he would take open spot-up threes off the catch.  Andersson also doesn’t often look to create his own shot on offense, as he did not really look to score off the dribble, so he may be dependent primarily on off-ball motion as well as on the team system to help him generate good scoring chances on offense. 

Plus, he also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Andersson is an unselfish player that possesses good court vision, as he can hit the cutter, and he also will often look to find the open man to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  He also can set good screens to help get his teammates open.  But sometimes, he can be careless with his passes, and against Norrkoping, one pass ended up sailing out of bounds while on another play, he dribbled out to casually throw a pass into a crowd that ended up getting intercepted.

On the other hand, he may need to improve his ability to rebound the basketball.  For the positives, he will look to crash the glass, and he was able to collect some defensive rebounds.  He also will occasionally tip balls to his teammates. 

Defense could be Andersson’s calling card, as he played solid defense in both games.  He is a very good shot blocker, as he is a quick, agile player that has solid timing and instincts combined with having above average athletic gifts, and he can emphatically swat numerous shots off the dribble.  Sometimes, he may block them to his teammates to help his team create early offense the other way.  Also, Andersson has quick hands, as on one play against Boras Basket, he rotated to poke a ball when defending the post to a teammate to help his team get a steal.

Plus, he will actively fight through screens, as he can do so off the ball, as well as when he is defending the opposing ball handler, and he will actively contest shots to force misses.  But sometimes, he can get beat off the dribble, which can lead him to commit fouls or allow scores.  Also, every once in a while, he can be late on his rotations, which can occasionally lead his team to allow three-point baskets.

In general, Denzel Andersson is an intriguing prospect, as he may be one of the more underrated players among the 1996-born international players in the 2018 NBA Draft.  He is an above average athlete that does a good job of moving off the ball to help his team on offense, and he is also an unselfish player that will play within the team structure.  Though he did not make a three in either of these two games, he’s shot the ball fairly well this year, and currently this season, he’s made 35% of his three-point shots in both the Swedish Basketligan and BCL Qualification games combined via RealGM.

Also, Andersson is a very good defender that can defend out on the perimeter as well as in the paint.  With his skill set, he may be a versatile forward that can help a team in many facets of the game, and he could end up being a good find for an NBA team if they decide to either select him in the second round, or if they decide to employ him for their summer league roster.

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