Mar 27, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; UCLA Bruins guard/forward Kyle Anderson (5) drives to the basket defended by Dorian Finney-Smith (10) and Florida Gators forward Casey Prather (24) during the second half in the semifinals of the south regional of the 2014 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship tournament at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
The San Antonio Spurs have a history of draft “Spur” players. Did they accomplish that with Kyle Anderson in the 2014 NBA draft?
Anderson gives champs insurance for Boris Diaw
By far the biggest goal ahead for the San Antonio Spurs in the off-season was finding a way to retain veteran forward Boris Diaw, whose insertion into the starting lineup was widely considered the catalyst for the team rampaging over the Miami Heat for their fifth championship. However, since there is no guarantee that the 32-year old Diaw will return, the team needed to take steps to try replacing him. They may just have succeeded in that endeavor when they landed UCLA forward Kyle Anderson. Most 2014 NBA draft scouting reports said Anderson is basically a much bigger point guard. He sees the floor well and is a deft passer. On top of that he can rebound and proved last season he can shoot some too. The big knock on him is his defense. So Anderson is not entirely like Diaw but he’s as close as any player coming out of the draft.
San Antonio Spurs can now focus on Patty Mills
One thing Kyle Anderson does for the champs is he allows them to not have to overpay to keep Diaw. They want him to stay but not as a detriment to the salary cap. Their ideal scenario is him returning at a fair price and mentoring Anderson in the way of the San Antonio Spurs. As a bonus, having the rookie as insurance for Diaw allows the team to focus a little bit more on retaining another key free agent in point guard Patty Mills. He, like Diaw was a huge benefit to the team in the Finals against Miami, proving an able sub for Tony Parker. He still pretty young and knows the Spurs system. Keeping him in place would really further the hopes of doing something the team hasn’t done since they started winning titles in 1999, which is repeat. Did the 2014 NBA draft help them further that mission? It’s at least fair to say it didn’t make it worse.