Jul 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Antonio Spurs guardKyle Anderson
(1) shoots against the defense of New York Knicks centerKristaps Porzingis
(46) during an NBA Summer League game at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
As summer league was getting ready to start, I made a list of 10 players to keep an eye on, Kyle Anderson was near the top of that list. Anderson was selected with the 30th pick in last year’s NBA Draft, as he inexplicably fell past the mid-first round that many had him going.
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In the 2014 NBA Summer in Las Vegas he averaged 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. The numbers didn’t tell the story, as he looked extremely comfortable handling the ball and making plays for his teammates. Despite looking solid at times it was clear that Anderson wasn’t ready for a spot in the Spurs rotation.
Once the season came around Anderson didn’t play in the first three games, then he was thrown in the fire in game four against Atlanta. Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, and Marco Belinelli sat out and Anderson got an opportunity. In 31 minutes off the bench Anderson disappointed, as he went for 4 points on 1-8 from the field. It wasn’t all bad, as he finished with an impressive 8 rebounds and 4 assists. For the next month it seemed that Anderson would play one night, sit the next. Shortly after there was a five game stretch between December 15-December 22, that he played at least 10 minutes in each game. Anderson averaged 7.2 points and 5.2 rebounds.
Anderson went on to play in only 11 games in the final three months of his rookie year. His season was certainly underwhelming, as he posted averages of 2.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in 10.8 minutes. He struggled to score in games, as he was inefficient (35% fg).
That is history now, as Anderson looks like an improved player. In seven summer league games so far, he is averaging 18.7 points and 6.6 rebounds. He looks quicker and most importantly, his defense has improved. Anderson is creating turnovers (1.6 spg) and even blocking a shot (1.1 bpg) here and there.
Anderson is only 21-years old but his poise and IQ is what can make him a valuable bench piece for the Spurs. At 6″9, he has the handle of a guard and has terrific vision, similar to Boris Diaw in his prime.
There is no telling if Anderson is guaranteed a key role for the Spurs this season, but when his number is called expect a much better player than he was last season.