During the 2010-11 season, one could have still made the argument that the San Antonio Spurs were grooming James Anderson to fill the role that fellow NBA D-League alum Danny Green now assumes.
The guard stuck around in San Antonio from 2010-12 playing sporadically, but some struggles shooting from the field proved Anderson to be a bit more inconsistent than the Spurs would have preferred. There's no doubt the young gun had potential, but perhaps it wasn't the appropriate time for him to get fully acclimated into the team's system as a key player.
Still, though the Spurs opted not to retain Anderson following two seasons, the team came calling not much longer once again anyway. An early season injury to Manu Ginobili called for another guard to step right in and eat some minutes in the interim. Already with an obvious understanding of the team's system, Anderson proved to be the ideal candidate for the job. But after appearing in 10 games last season, the 25 year old was let go once more.
Seeing how highly regarded Anderson was by one of their tougher competitors, the Houston Rockets picked the guard up following some time with their D-League affiliate, the RGV Vipers. That said, Anderson continued to go through the revolving door when Houston waived him this past summer. Luckily for him, former Rockets executive turned Philadelphia 76ers General Manager Sam Hinkie appreciated the guard's skill set enough to claim him off waivers and secure Anderson for his new team instead.
It's in the City of Brotherly Love that Anderson has seemingly found a home after winning a starting job to finally call his own. And during Wednesday night's duel against Jeremy Lin and the Rockets, Anderson decided to finally let loose and show his former team what they are now missing out on.
In addition to hitting a three-point field goal to send the game into overtime (Philadelphia eventually won the contest by a score of 123-117), Anderson scored 36 points and grabbed 3 steals. He sunk six shots from long range, on his way to shooting 12 of 16 from the field.
With the Spurs, Anderson made his mark by developing a reputation as a steady defender. And though he's also able to modestly help his team spread the floor, such a scoring outburst is a refreshing surprise. While one may not be able to expect as much from the guard on a nightly basis, it's encouraging that such potential is in fact there.
Anderson's a very unselfish player, but it's good to know he's able to pour in the points when the time calls for it.
On an excellent night for minor league alumni, Lin also scored 34 points and dished out 12 assists in his team's defeat.
What's more, Anderson's 76ers' teammate (and Reno Bighorns alum) Tony Wroten had his first career triple-double with 18 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds. As Wroten's 7 for 18 shooting performance proves, he's not a sharpshooter by any means. RidiculousUpside.com's own Scott Rafferty suggested previously that shoring up such a weakness in his game will be key to his success. Still, as Rafferty also alluded to, Wroten can undoubtedly do plenty of other things well too. His latest performance (a perfect complement to Anderson's) is simply further evidence as such.