Having two years of NBA experience makes a huge difference in Summer League play. Kyle “Slo Mo'” Anderson is made the most of his summer ball by polishing his shooting and leadership while being the veteran on the floor for once.
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In Anderson’s third summer league appearance in as many years, he proved once again that he is a real talent in this league. So much so that the Spurs pulled him from their Las Vegas summer league roster before their game against the Chicago Bulls on July 12th.
Before his duties were not needed anymore, Anderson followed up his MVP performance in 2015 by taking over the Spurs summer squad again.
“To me, he was the best player in summer league,” said Spurs summer league head coach Becky Hammon. “When you talk about the most all-around player, he was the best. That’s saying a lot. His leadership, his communicating, he was great for us. There’s was really nowhere left for him to go.”
Anderson was pulled after averaging a league high 23.7 points in the Spurs three games in the Salt Lake summer league. In the teams first two games in Las Vegas, he put up 18.5 points and six rebounds in two wins.
Anderson has mastered his slow style to become quite the offensive force, and not just as a facilitator anymore. Coming into the NBA drafted by the Spurs in 2014, he was heralded as the “best passer of the draft” and has shown his passing prowess in the big leagues.
However when playing against summer league competition, Anderson looks like a perennial all-star. Anderson not only runs the offense but was also their number one weapon, like a true point guard at 6-foot-9. He has so much to offer on offense mainly due to his unique patience.
Jul 9, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Kyle Anderson (1) dribbles the ball during an NBA Summer League game against the Golden State Warriors at Thomas & Mack Center. San Antonio won 63-61. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Anderson’s attacks defenses by setting up move after move until his opponent is out of position. He then swiftly attacks.
This style appears to be slow and nonthreatening, but Anderson has shown that he can pick a defender apart, especially off the dribble. His innate handle is even more impressive with his height and frame. He really is a point guard that drags around his extra height and weight.
Even though his handle and iso – game have been impressive in his short summer stint this year, his true improvements lie elsewhere. His shooting touch and release speed is where he has really grown. Working with the Spurs staff for three years and getting a little magic touch from Chip Engelland (otherwise known as the Jumpshot Whisperer) has certainly helped.
Anderson only made 12 of his 37 three point attempts last year which is a measly 32 percent. He was not a danger to shoot long jumpers because of his slow release. Many times defenders would just leave him open, leaving just enough space to contest due to his low release or just not viewing him as a shooting threat.
If summer league 2016 showed us anything about Slo Mo’, it’s that he ain’t so slo’ no mo’. Anderson’s release is much, much faster, which made him a dangerous shooter from beyond the paint. Behind the three point arc he was a knock down shooter, going 8-of-19 in just five games, for a much improved 42 percent. Anderson even showed the ability to pull up from beyond the arc, something he could not dream of last year.
With the Spurs recent loss of David West and Anderson’s marquee NBA comparison Boris Diaw; the Spurs not only view Anderson as an asset for the future, but a key producer off the bench this season. Anderson will plug in some minutes behind Kawhi Leonard at the three and some at the four. With Manu Ginobili’s age, Anderson could completely run the second unit and ensure the ball does not stick throughout the game.
With Anderson’s versatility and size, he gives the Spurs plenty of options. As far as in game lineups, he enables them to go small with Anderson playing power forward, creating a lineup that will be able to run and move with anyone. Anderson could very well be Pop’s secret weapon to change the flow in a game this upcoming season.