Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Having used the D-League to strut his stuff for multiple seasons now, James Anderson has reaped the benefits such a stage can grant him once again. After watching him closely with their affiliate Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets have decided the swingman is worth taking a chance on.
Over the course of the last two seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, James Anderson had begun to find his niche. After going back and forth between the Spurs and the organization's D-League affiliate Austin Toros, the swingman appeared to finally be getting consistent minutes.
Playing in 51 games last season, Anderson averaged 11.8 minutes. Though his steady defensive efforts gave him the potential to ultimately become a staple in the team's rotation, perhaps his less than stellar shooting percentages while in San Antonio was enough to cause his downfall. The team opted not to bring him back for training camp this past fall.
Though Anderson failed to snag a spot on the Atlanta Hawks' roster before the season, the third-year NBA vet subsequently joined the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the NBADL. He went on to average 16 points, 4.5 rebounds, and sink 11 of 12 free throws through the Vipers' two preseason contests, and seemed poised to hit the hardwood while working his way back to The Association.
But it only took those two games for San Antonio to watch and realize what they gave up. In need of a guard to fill the void while Stephen Jackson was sidelined by an injury to his pinky finger, Anderson's former team reeled him back in come late November. Through ten games, the returning Spur gave his team quality minutes when given the chance, and furthermore, displayed a sweet shooting stroke that wasn't necessarily present during his first stint. Anderson shot 44% from the field (including 46% from down town), and averaged 3.4 points in just 9.4 minutes per contest.
Despite his strong showing, there just simply weren't enough minutes to go around for all of the Spurs' wing players. Anderson's release coincided directly with Jackson's return to the court. The pair appeared together in one game, but that was all she wrote for the young gun.
Understanding that the D-League still undoubtedly provided him with a place to shine and strut his stuff, Anderson then returned to Rio Grande Valley and planed to don a Vipers jersey once again.
As fate would have it, the Houston Rockets (the NBA affiliate of RGV) had other plans. After watching the swingman closely in preseason, and then allowing him to venture back to San Antonio for a bit, Houston has decided its time to snatch the talent up for themselves.
Anderson was present at the team's shoot-around on Monday morning, but watched from the sidelines. He will reportedly sign a multi-year deal the Rockets relatively soon. The first year of the contract is believed to be a guaranteed one, whereas the latter years will likely be team options. Such a contract does not necessarily need to be worth just the league minimum.
After working hard and playing quality minutes for a NBA contender like the Spurs for parts of three seasons now, it's clear Anderson has the talent and skill set necessary to make it in The Association. One of the more active teams with regard to using the D-League to discover, develop, and nurture talent, the Rockets have benefited from the minor league yet again. The guard looks like he'll fit in perfectly with the team's promising young core group.