Anderson’s Shot at the First-Five

jamesandersoncopyAs the 76ers began the NBA Global Games on Sunday afternoon, there was new addition to the starting lineup; that new addition was forward James Anderson.  Anderson, who has been a NBA journeyman through his first three years in the League, is looking for his time to shine.

It’s interesting to note, that Anderson and new head coach Brett Brown already have a connection.  Back in the 2010 NBA Draft, Anderson was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round with the 20th overall pick.

In the 2010-11 season with the Spurs, Anderson would play in 26 games but would only start in two of them.  He averaged 3.6 points per game in 11 minutes.

After that, Anderson would fall to injury with a stress fracture in his foot and he would begin to make himself a name in the NBA Development League.  Anderson was assigned the Spurs’ affiliate, the Austin Toros. With the Toros that season, Anderson played in seven games averaging 14.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 25.0 minutes per game.  Then in the 2011-12 season, he was back with the Spurs but would then begin a new journey in the 2012-13 season with the Houston Rockets.

Coincidentally, Sam Hinkie used to be a part of the Houston Rockets organization and Anderson was one of his players.  In 29 games with Houston, Anderson would average four points and then would be signed as a free agent in January of that year.  After that, Anderson would find himself back in the NBA Development League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

After his short stint with the Vipers, Anderson was re-signed by the Spurs and then waived by them.  Anderson would then find himself back in Houston where we would get more playing time.  But the question is now can James Anderson solidify his spot on the Sixers or will he be playing somewhere else or back in the NBA Development League?

The 6-6 Anderson helped himself on Sunday as he scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 26 minutes as a starter.  Two of his points came on the fast break as Michael Carter-Williams found him for a smooth alley-oop.

In yesterday’s game against the Thunder, he was back in the starting lineup but didn’t have much of an impact on the game.  Anderson scored only six points on 2-8 shooting and turned the ball over 3 times.  However he did hit two of his five 3PAs and dished out four assists.

Through two preseason games, Anderson is logging 26+ minutes per contest; shooting 8-16 from the field; and 4-8 from behind the arc.  Those are extremely respectable numbers.  Brett Brown acknowledged back in September that he liked what he saw from Anderson in camp.

“He’s always been a scorer, since I’ve been with him for a little bit during my Spur days.  He also did it at Oklahoma State. The three-line is going to be very important for us,” Brown told the media during training camp.

So, the fact that he has started both preseason games probably means Anderson is the front runner to win a starting forward spot and it is not just Brown trying him out as part of the first-five.

Anderson brings an interesting dynamic to this young team in that he is a young veteran.  Yes, I heard Steve Smith use that term on yesterday’s NBA TV broadcast as the Sixers took on the Oklahoma City Thunder but it’s the truth.  Anderson brings a lot of experience to the team because in comparison to the many of the Sixers roster, he’s been around the League for a minute and has had to fight to stay on teams and make rosters.

I like his ability to put the ball in the basket.  Anderson is a big body that can score with the 3-ball or by driving to the basket.  Three-point shots and/or trips to the FT line are exactly what Hinkie and Brown are looking for on the offensive end.  I know it’s a small sample size, but you have to believe that if Anderson continues to play solid, smart ball for the rest of the preseason, then he will be a starter on opening night for the 76ers.


Jovan Alford is a scribe for Philadunkia.  You can follow him on Twitter @Jovan10.

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