The 6-foot-6 Anderson projects as a shooting guard or small forward, putting him a similar mold of Chandler Parsons, one of just two returning starters for the Mavericks along with aging star Dirk Nowitzki.
Dallas has needs at several positions with point guard Rajon Rondo, backcourt mate and leading scorer Monta Ellis and center Tyson Chandler set to become free agents.
Carlisle said Anderson's style was similar to Jae Crowder, who went to Dallas in the 2012 draft and was one of the pieces the Mavericks sent to Boston in last season's trade for Rondo that ended badly with Rondo's banishment during a first-round playoff loss to Houston.
Anderson, who left Virginia after his junior season, averaged 12.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while shooting 45 percent from 3-point range in a season that was shortened by a broken hand and an appendectomy.
"We have a lot of improving to do shooting it and guard it," said Carlisle, who was on Virginia's 1984 Final Four team. "This move is a strong move in the direction of addressing both of those needs. He's in a very good situation because he's got a chance to be a factor right away to get playing time if he works hard and adapts."
The Mavericks also need a point guard with Rondo's departure, but passed on Tyus Jones, who turned pro after winning a national championship as a freshman at Duke. Devin Harris is on the roster and can play the point, and Dallas wants to re-sign J.J. Barea.