Back on January 6th, the Brooklyn Nets signed veteran wing Justin Anderson to a 10-day deal. This move came after he shined in the G League with the Raptors 905 as he averaged 21.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists on 49% from the field and 35% from 3 on 8.2 attempts per game in his 13 contests with the squad.
Unfortunately, the 6’6 wing didn’t have an opportunity to showcase his skills as he only played a total of 17 minutes before getting waived on January 15th. Although that move ended his time with Brooklyn, the organization wanted to keep a close eye on the 27-year-old forward as he returned to the G League. They were able to do that through trading former two-way player Henry Ellenson to the Raptors 905 in exchange for Anderson on January 21st.
That decision to trade for Anderson has already appeared to have paid off for Long Island. Since his arrival, the team has gone 5-4 in their nine games, which is a significant step in the right direction for a team that stood 9-16 before that mid-January arrival. Along with the improved record, the veteran has been spectacular for the Nets as he’s put up 23.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3 assists on 49% from the field and 37% from 3 on 8.7 attempts per game.
Along with a better record and great stats, the wing’s impact is seen when you look at offensive on/off numbers. When Anderson is on the court, the Nets are averaging 110.4 points per 100 possessions compared to only 100.3 points per 100 when he’s sitting on the sidelines. To put that in another perspective, Long Island stands as the 6th best offense in the G League when the 6’6 veteran is on the court compared to being the worst when he’s not in the game.
Anderson has been able to shine on offense through being able to drive to the rim and hit a consistent amount of perimeter jumpers. In regards to the first trait, he’s excelled as he’s currently shooting 79% from within the restricted area on a total of 43 attempts since joining Long Island. One way that he’s been able to shine in this area through smooth off-the-dribble moves, good first step and change speeds on a dime being able to to allow him to move past the perimeter defender.
A great example of this is evident in the clip below as the veteran wing uses a relaxed crossover to lull Celtics rookie guard Romeo Langford to sleep before using his right hand to drive to the rim and be able to finish with a left-handed layup.
In addition to using crossovers and change of speed moves to move past his defender, the 6’6 and 230 pound wing has been able to use his strong frame to be able to finish through traffic. That ability comes whether he’s trying to finsh with his left or right hand.
Aside from being a tremendous and efficient on-ball driver, the veteran forward has been a solid perimeter shooter by shooting 37% from 3 on 8.7 attempts from 3 since joining Long Island. Although that percentage is slightly above average in the grand scheme of modern-day pro hoops, it’s definitely an improvement on the 34% that he shot with the 905 and the 30% on 460 total attempts that he took in the NBA.
That improved efficiency largely has to do with his success from both corners. According to the G League’s shot charts, he’s shooting 43% from the left corner and 38% on the right. In either of those areas, he impresses as a catch-and-shoot threat through being quick at capturing the pass and putting up a shot with a high release.
Although his sweet spots have definitely been on the corner, the former Virginia standout isn’t afraid to launch up shots from anyone the court no matter the distance. That fact was recently evident in a February 11th game against the OKC Blue where he scored a career-high 48 points on 15-22 from the field, 8-10 from beyond the arc, and 6-7 from the free throw line.
Most of eight made attempts came from him spotting up from well beyond the NBA three-point line. An example of that extreme confidence is seem in the clip below where he puts the ball between his legs and launching up a three with 14 seconds left on the shot clock in an extremely competitive game.
Although his career with the Long Island Nets is just beginning, Anderson has vaulted himself up to being arguably the best forward in the G League that doesn’t have an NBA contract. If he was able to get a 10-day after the way he started the year with the 905, you’d think the veteran would get another opportunity after how he’s shown progression as a perimeter threat since joining Long Island.
While he’s shown himself to be a phenomenal player for the Long Island Nets, it seems like only a matter of time until Justin Anderson returns to the NBA.