NVP (Noted Valuable Player) Watch List Vol. 1
Latest — This is the start of Justin Anderson’s second season in the NBA, hovering right around 20 minutes per game off the bench. He shares a backup role with rookie Dorian Finney-Smith, who has distinguished himself as an above-average perimeter defender, behind a budding star in Harrison Barnes and a struggling Wesley Matthews. Anderson’s mediocre performance this season hasn’t provided much for us to talk about yet, aside from some flashes of freakish athleticism at the rim. That was until Dallas’ throw-away game vs the Warriors on Wednesday night, November 9. I call it that because in addition to the injured Deron Williams and Dirk Nowitzki, Coach Rick Carlisle opted to sideline starting shooting guard, Wesley Matthews, starting center, Andrew Bogut, and now-starting point guard, JJ Barea, on the second night of a back-to-back. Essentially, “Hey Golden State, may I have an L with that please? Thanks, man.”
With this opportunity vs the most unreal super-team the league has ever seen (who seems to still be figuring things out), the Dallas bench players got starter’s minutes. In 40 minutes matched up against Klay Thompson, probably a top five two-way player and arguably the best three-and-D player in the league, Justin Anderson put up 16 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and zero turnovers, to Thompson’s 20 points, two rebounds, four assists, and three turnovers.
What I love? Zero turnovers in 40 minutes. That’s outstanding control for a young player whose relentless motor may lead him astray at times. Eight boards and seven dimes are welcome statistics from a shooting guard as well, which again, are reminiscent of a younger Andre Iguodala. What I hate? Anderson put up 19 shots and only connected on six of them (31.6 FG%). In addition, he shot 0-5 from the 3-point line and 4-7 from the free throw line. Oh, and the -15 plus/minus differential kind of hurts too.
Quick Summary — His passion, intensity, and all-around game is something I’m very excited about as a Mavericks fan, but his scoring inefficiency still proves that he’s not ready for a larger role yet. After all the hype I heard about Anderson’s offseason, I expected his improvements to shine more prominently than what we’ve seen. I suppose Justin Anderson’s development is something us MFFL just need to be a bit more patient for.
This is a follow-up to my previous article, http://www.otgbasketball.com/single-post/2016/10/01/PLAYERS-TO-WATCH-FOR-Justin-Anderson.