Justin Anderson experienced a season of adjustment in being traded midseason to the Philadelphia 76ers. He is hoping a summer of work can help establish his spot in the Sixers rotation.
Anderson took off in his third and final year at Virginia.
After averaging 7.8 points in his sophomore season which included shooting just 29.4 percent from three-point range, Anderson’s numbers improved to 12.2 points per game on 45.2 percent shooting from downtown the following year.
And now entering his third season in the NBA, Anderson is both aware and confident of his capabilities:
“Year 3’s are good for me. Percentages may not say he’s (Anderson) a great three-point shooter, but teams just don’t leave me open.”
This season, Anderson shot at a 29.9 percent clip from downtown. Overall, he averaged 7.1 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. In his 24 games with the 76ers, Anderson averaged 8.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in 21.6 minutes per game.
At the time of the trade, Sixers’ president of basketball operations, Bryan Colangelo, stated:
“Justin Anderson is a young wing that we think is going to add something to this team in the way of a defensive-minded approach, talent, athleticism. We like to describe him as someone who’s got that edge. … Philly fans are gonna love Justin’s approach to the game. We’re excited. He adds something to the mix that we’re excited to have.”
Furthermore, Mavericks’ owner, Mark Cuban, very succinctly tweeted the following:
Anderson certainly fits the mantra followed by head coach Brett Brown – “defense, pace and space.” As a high level athlete with the ability to defend multiple positions, Anderson certainly fits the mould.
After Anderson had been with the Sixers for just a couple of weeks, Brown noted the following:
“Does he fit how we want to play? Can he play fast? Can he make a shot? Does he have a toughness? Defense, pace and space. From time to time he shows, yes he can, in all three of those categories.”
“From time to time” clearly refers to Anderson’s perimeter shooting, which will certainly be a top priority this summer. And although Anderson’s self-confidence should be admired, the numbers don’t lie.
Last season, Anderson had 24 games where he attempted at least four or more three-point attempts. In eight of these games, he did not convert on a single three-pointer. This included twice going 0-for-6 from three.
Conversely, Anderson’s inconsistency from the perimeter also featured 15 games where he made converted on two or more three-pointers, from which he shot at an outstanding 52.2 percent clip from downtown.
However, Anderson noted recently that he was comforted by the confidence shown in him by coach Brown:
“He likes the way I shoot the ball, thinks I have a nice stroke. He said I’m gonna take a lot of threes and there may be a lot of misses, but we’re going to keep taking them. For him to tell not just me that but the whole team, it shows his trust in our ability to shoot the basketball and we’ve just got to keep letting it go.”
But despite having the coach’s backing, and his own strong self-belief, the proof will be in the pudding.
An improved consistency from the perimeter will be paramount to ensuring Anderson’s long-term future in Philadelphia.
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Source: Fox Sports