Cary Emondson-US PRESSWIRE
After spending two seasons with the NBA championship contending Spurs, James Anderson now finds himself thrust onto the Rio Grande Valley Vipers' roster in the D-League. He will now have to work his way back as he eyes a return to The Association.
As profiled earlier this week on RidiculousUpside.com by our own Gino Pilato, former NBA guard Troy Hudson will join the ranks of the bevy of past NBA veterans who attempt to use the D-League as their path back to The Association, when he steps foot on the court for the Skyforce later this month.
Many veterans craving a shot at redemption use the NBADL as they try carving their way back. Of course, many aspiring prospects also use the minors as their stage to shine as they too prove they deserve a chance to break into the NBA.
Anderson will enter the season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers after spending the last two years with the NBA championship contending Spurs.
After displaying a bit of staying power on a contending team like San Antonio for multiple seasons, Anderson's "choice" to play in the D-League is an interesting one. The guard signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Hawks, but has since been cut from their roster following camp. Why did the guard fail to more formally catch on with an NBA team for this season?
Appearing in 51 contests for the Spurs last season, Anderson averaged 11.8 minutes per game and helped fill in a bit during Manu Ginobili's injury. On offense, he likes to slash his way to the basket and can aggressively drive to the hole. His defensive effort is solid enough to help pace a team's efforts on that side of the ball as well.
Needless to say, Anderson, at the very least, has the skills necessary to be a capable NBA rotation guard.
As the Spurs have tried to re-invent themselves and maintain a competitive edge over the course of recent seasons, their staff has developed quite the eye for young complementary talent. San Antonio is the perfect type of team that can benefit from the type of players the D-League develops. The squad need defenders, three-point shooters, passers, etc, to surround their offensive stars, like Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Ginobili. As the team's first round selection (20th pick overall) in 2010, Anderson seemed to fit right in with that niche as the Spurs' continued to build their squad.
Instead of continuing on with San Antonio this season, Anderson finds himself thrust into D-League competition. But the guard is by no means a stranger to the NBA's minor league ranks. The former Spur spent time with the Austin Toros last season on assignment, averaging 14.7 points per game (on 45% shooting from the field) and 4.9 boards through seven contests.
He has to have more of that same success in the NBADL if he wants to make it back to the NBA. Already boasting a two season stint with the contending Spurs on his basketball resume, basketball executives all around should already know Anderson can effectively do all of the little things a team needs quite well.
With such abilities to his own credit, Anderson can now use the D-League to hone his offensive skills as well. Should he be able to polish his long-range jumper and continue to pour in the points in the minors, NBA teams will quickly take notice once again. It's only a matter of time, which may ensure Anderson's time in the minors isn't long at all.