Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Coming into the draft, Oklahoma State guard James Anderson was rated as one of the more NBA-ready guards, an aspect of the 6’6" 21-year-old that was a large piece of the reasoning behind drafting him.
As previously established, the Spurs are a win-now, win-then franchise, expecting immediate and long-term results. It’s a method that clearly works, with the assumption that players coming into the league better hit the ground running and be ready to play.
Because of this, San Antonio likes to draft guys who have the experience necessary and aren’t project players. We saw it with Duncan and even Parker, who started 72 games in his rookie season. We saw it with DeJuan Blair to an extent last season. It’s just a successful way to keep the ball rolling with the prosperity of the franchise.
Splitter, however, was an exception to the rule. The seven-footer from Brazil, taken 28th overall has yet to see any NBA action, but has spent his time polishing his skills overseas to the point that he has developed into one of the best players in Europe, particularly in the center position.
The Spurs didn’t necessarily need to bring him over until this point in his career, but the time is right for the 25-year old to offer his services to his NBA team. Splitter’s defense is his strong point, with the coordination to be more than just a body in the middle. San Antonio will see plenty of Splitter this season and he should be developed enough by now to contribute significantly off the bench.
All of this leads me to believe that Anderson will be ready to run with the big dogs from the get-go.
If this is the case, the team might be better off than they’re given credit for.