If you're wondering what that has to do with the Knicks, remember that the little-used Anderson erupted for a season-high 35 points against Carmelo Anthony and Co. on March 22 last season. The Nets probably care just as much about knocking off the rest of the top teams in the East, but based on this latest signing, it sure seems like they're doing everything they can to stick it to the Knicks.
Maybe he's Brooklyn's secret weapon, only to be unleashed when the Blue and Orange are on the schedule.
Seriously, though: Anderson is a useful reserve. He's a streaky scorer who topped the 20-point mark in eight different games during the 2012-13 season. That may not sound like much, but the Nets don't figure to use Anderson as much more than a garbage-time scorer—except against the Knicks, when he'll inevitably start and go for 40.
Alan Anderson falls down, but still hits a 3, because he's playing the Knicks and that's what happens when he plays the Knicks.— Alex Raskin (@alexraskinNYC) March 24, 2013
Most teams would love to have a player with Anderson's scoring potential at the end of their bench.
The 30-year-old wing showed marked improvements last year, largely because he cut his appalling turnover rate down to a manageable 9.3 percent (per ESPN). An atrocious ball-handler with a tendency to be far more aggressive than his skills warrant, Anderson's previous three NBA seasons all featured giveaway rates of over 12 percent. For a guy who almost never registers assists, that's unacceptable.
But the Toronto Raptors tried their best to get him to stop dribbling last season, which was a big reason for his improvement.
Rest assured that at some point this year, Anderson will get that look in his eye and start pounding the rock, a precursor to one of his ill-fated isolation forays. Those will be fun to watch in a train-wreck sort of way, but head coach Jason Kidd will have a quick hook ready if they happen too often.
One area in which Anderson will definitely help Brooklyn is on the defensive end. He held opposing shooting guards to a PER of just 11.6 last year, and was even tougher on small forwards, limiting them to a figure of only 10.6 (per 82games.com).
If Paul Pierce or Joe Johnson need a break from a tough defensive matchup, Anderson could be valuable as a short-term defensive pest while the Nets' veteran swingmen take a blow.
In big-picture terms, Anderson isn't a transformative signing for the Nets by any measure. But he is the kind of low-risk, high-value acquisition that teams like Brooklyn have to make. With zero cap flexibility, the Nets need useful vets like Anderson to fill out the roster.
And if he can drop a few extra buckets on the Knicks, Brooklyn will be plenty happy with that, too.