In case you can't tell by my Twitter feed, we are now entering one of my favorite times of the year: NFL training camp.
If you've never been, for a football fan, it's the best. All your favorite players, practicing in front of you in a small, intimate environment. You get to meet everyone. You get to watch the coaches yell at them. You sit among diehard fans and talk football. I've had so many good times being a Bills fan at Bills training camp.
For the second year in a row, however, I'm working camp, which is a trillion times better. Because of this, I've actually got to pay attention to what the team is working on, and not just how to get in good autograph position. I've come to appreciate training camp in a different light. The NFL has this whole system down perfectly. The NBA doesn't. And they really need to figure it out.
Anyway, I'm rambling, because talking about how great NFL camps are is not what this is about at all. But one of the great things about training camp is seeing what your team has in the new guys, the drafted and undrafted rookies, the veterans fighting for roster spots. Usually, the answer is nothing. But occasionally, it's something.
That's sort of how I feel about new free agent signing Alan Anderson. (How 'bout that transition?!?) I think he can do big-ish things for the Nets off the bench. I think he'll be a good wing defender and I think he'll contribute in some good minutes. But in actuality, he'll probably do nothing. This is a classic "training camp story," and how a 15th man on a vet-min/$5m-Prokhorov-pocket contract can help is going to be overblown. And yet, that's what makes camp fun. So, let's meet Alan Anderson.
Let's start with the numbers. Last season, with my brother's Toronto Raptors, Anderson averaged 10.7 points on 38.3% shooting. He also shot 33.3% from the arc. Before looking into this at all, and as they say numbers never lie, I read this and think, "Anderson is a chucker."
Okay, so let's take a look at his shot chart:
Yikes. From here, we can see that Anderson's best shots came from the free-throw line. It's also curious that the 33% three-point shooter took so many shots from behind the arc. His percentage was better on the left side when compared to the right, but he didn't necessarily take less shots from the right. So, yeah, Anderson's a chucker.
Per Synergy, Anderson is a big fan of of the spot-up jumper, which credited for 35.2% of his plays, where he shot 37.9%. 15.9% of his plays came in isolation, and just 7% came off screens. Anderson played some minutes at the one, where he was the pick and roll ball handler in 15.6% of his plays.
Of course, Anderson's chucking came in handy a few times this season, including a 35-point barrage against the Knicks on March 22. He also scored 26 against the Knicks earlier in the season (on February 13, shooting 62.5%). Anderson has had some big games against the top teams in the league, like his 20 point outing against the Spurs, 27 against the Thunder, 27 against the Bulls, 20 against Miami, 19 against Memphis and 17 against the top-West-ranked Lakers (oh wait...).
According to Wikipedia, Anderson developed a reputation as an above-average wing defender, but according to Braedon Clark from RaptorsHQ, the team performed better defensively when he was on the bench.
So, from what I've gathered, Anderson is an inconsistent shooter, who will shoot a lot, from frustrating places, but will occasionally go off and score big points. I don't think the Nets will use Anderson in the same way the Raptors needed to, as the Nets actually have a deep, deep bench. The Raptors don't.
Still, the Nets must have a big plan for Anderson, especially because he cost our owner $5 million out of pocket. I don't know about you, but when I buy a $5 million basketball player, I like him to see the court once and a while.