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Alan Anderson: Brooklyn's ace in the hole?

Sixth man in Toronto last year could be key insurance policy in Brooklyn
10/24/2013 9:58 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

BACKGROUND
If Alan Anderson had a basketball mantra, it might be “have jump shot, will travel,” as he is seemingly the ultimate definition of a journeyman.

After playing 126 games in his four years at Michigan State (2001-05), the 6-foot-6 swingman went undrafted – although he was taken No. 3 overall in that year’s CBA Draft – and ended up signing with Charlotte, where he averaged 5.8 points in 37 games as a rookie. He was waived the following preseason and spent almost all of 2006-07 playing in the NBDL with Tulsa before returning for 17 games with the Bobcats late in the season, but that would be the end of his domestic career for another half-decade.

Anderson signed with Vitus Bologna in Italy for the 2007-08 season, and over the next five years, he played in six different countries – Italy, Russia, Croatia, Israel, Spain, and China – and for two different D-League teams before signing a 10-day contract with the Toronto Raptors in March 2012. He eventually was signed for the rest of the year and played 17 games (starting 12) for the Raptors, averaging 9.6 points per game and earning a spot on the roster the following season.

LAST SEASON
Anderson was a key reserve for Dwane Casey in Toronto, playing 65 games (with two starts) and averaging 10.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 23 minutes per game. That line earned him a one-year, minimum-salary deal with a 2014-15 player option to come in and fill out the Nets roster.

THIS SEASON
If you look at any online Nets depth chart, you’re likely to find Anderson on the third line at either shooting guard or small forward, depending on who set the chart and/or where they put Toko Shengelia.

However, if you watch any Brooklyn practice or preseason game, what you’ll see is that Anderson may be one of the most important insurance policies in the league.

Sure, it’s possible that Anderson may rarely (if ever) crack the rotation, remaining an at-best 11th man who sees most of his playing time due to blowouts, injuries, or foul trouble – but it’s also very possible that, even in those situations, he could play his way into high demand the same way he did in Toronto.

Best case scenario, we see Anderson, who is noted as a great defender and excellent mid-range shooter, filling a similar role as Keith Bogans filled at times last year: that of a spark plug who does the little things and can get a team going with a big shot if needed.

Bogans played 74 games but only averaged 4.2 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 19 minutes, and because of the uncertainty in the rotation, we’ll project Anderson somewhere similar; we’ll peg him at 50 games and somewhere between 15-20 minutes per, with a line of 6.5-3.5-1.5 and a shooting percentage somewhere around 40 percent.

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