Stop me if you've heard this before, "The San Antonio Spurs got the steal of the (enter year) NBA Draft."
If you're jut climbing out from under a rock then you may be one of the few people to never hear that sentence.
In 1999 the Spurs selected a guard from Argentina named Manu Ginobili with the 57th overall pick. In 2001 they took a guard from France named Tony Parker with the 28th overall pick. In 2007 they drafted a forward from Brazil named Tiago Splitter--whom we'll get our first real look at this upcoming season--with the 28th overall pick.
In 2008 they picked a guard from little known Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis named George Hill with the 26th overall pick. Last year they selected a forward named Dejaun Blair, somebody other teams passed on because of medical questions, with the 37th overall pick.
These five players are all, at the very least, rotation players for this years Spurs team. And thanks to more shrewd thinking by the front office, headed by general manager R.C. Buford, San Antonio will be adding a sixth player to that list.
The 20th overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft, James Anderson from Oklahoma State University.
The reigning Big 12 Player of the Year had a quiet, in terms of exposure, but great career for the Cowboys. He left after his junior season with season averages of 22.3 PPG, 45.7 FG%, 34.1 3PT FG%, 81.0 FT%, 5.8 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.4 SPG.
Anderson is a prototypical shooting guard. He has the height (6'6''), the size and build (208 lbs with 7.9% body fat), the length (6'8.5" wingspan and 8'8" standing reach), and athleticism (35.5" max vert and 3.19 secs 3/4 court sprint).
Anderson also had his best outings against the best opponents Oklahoma State faced. They faced five teams that went on to make the 2010 NCAA Tournament. In those match-ups rarely did Anderson disappoint.
He poured in 21 and 31 points in his two games versus Elite Eight bound Baylor. Kansas State, the other Elite Eight Big 12 team, watched him go off for 30 and 27 points in their two meetings. In his lone meeting against eventual 10th seed Missouri Tigers James Anderson had 31 points. In two games against 5th seeded Texas A&M he scored 19 and 27 points. Finally in his lone game versus Big 12 Champions Kansas he scored 27 points and added a team-high 8 rebounds.
Overlooked because he was not spectacular in pre-draft workouts,similar to that of one of last year's breakout rookies Marcus Thornton of the New Orleans Hornets. Anderson was a high usage/high efficiency player in college which are very rare to come by. It shows in his 1.07 PPP (points per possession) ranked second among all players in the NCAA
Now he gets the opportunity to join a San Antonio Spurs organization with great players and great staff. The chance to watch and learn from All-Star players in Tim Duncan, Ginobili and Parker will only help his game. Not to mention that guy on the sidelines, Gregg Popovich is a future Hall of Famer.
With his size and ability to score Anderson is sure to see the floor this upcoming season and with the quality of the other players on the roster he won't even be the primary scoring option.
Manu Ginobili has excelled in the Sixth Man role, and George Hill will more than likely retain his starting spot alongside Tony Parker, meaning Anderson will most likely be playing with Ginobili. Teams will have to focus their defense on stopping his penetration, which is easier said than done. Anderson is more than capable of creating his own shot but having a play maker like Ginobili will only make scoring that much easier for Anderson.
Will Anderson win Rookie of the Year? Probably not, some guys named John Wall, Blake Griffin and DeMarcus Cousins will have more impressive stats. Will Anderson be an intricate part of 50 plus-win playoff team? Yes. Yes. And yes again.
Like previous Spurs draft picks, James Anderson is a solid and polished player. Somebody who is ready to contribute right away and fill a necessary role.
The San Antonio Spurs have struck gold again with their selection of James Anderson in the 2010 NBA Draft.
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