Summer League: Anderson, Cotton observations vs. Cavaliers

Sunday afternoon the San Antonio Spurs fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers 82-70, as a slow start early would eventually be the demise for the Spurs for the majority of the game, as the Cavaliers held on for the victory. In Andrew Ball’s postgame report, he broke down the individual performances of Deshaun Thomas and Austin Daye from the Spurs’ squad. The following will be a breakdown of Kyle Anderson and Bryce Cotton’s performances against the Cavaliers.

Kyle Anderson Observation

Overall: Anderson finished with two points, six rebounds, zero assists, and three steals in roughly 25 minutes of play. Anderson had a difficult day making anything, as he shot 1-of-7 from the floor. On his zero assists, a big factor in was the fact that his teammates wouldn’t make shots when he fed them wide open. The Spurs as a team shot 34% from the floor.

Offensive observation: Anderson played the small forward position through the majority of his minutes, as he was matched up with the number one pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Andrew Wiggins. Unlike Friday when he ran more pick-and-rolls for the team as the shooting guard, it seemed like the Spurs wanted to see what Anderson could do playing off the ball on offense. A majority of the shots he took were forced, when he would come off a screen to shoot a long jumper, or drive into the paint off a pick and force a floater or layup that wasn’t there. On his lone make, he took Wiggins down into the paint from the top of the key, posted him, and made a short floater. As mentioned above, a key reason his assist total was zero was because his teammates wouldn’t finish the plays, if they were open. He also showed the ability to use the pump fake, as he got his man in the air, and shot an open jumper even though it missed. Trying to get himself into scoring positions off the ball, playing the small forward spot, seemed to be an area where Anderson will need some more time to learn. Granted though, it was just one game.

Defensive observation: Having to defend Wiggins was a whole other task for Anderson on the defensive end. It showed that Wiggins could quickly beat him off the dribble early in the game, so Anderson would usually give Wiggins some space to take outside contested jumpers, rather than let him drive into the paint. Wiggins finished with 13 points, but shot 3-of-11 from the field. Friday Anderson looked like he had trouble defending his man off the ball, when his opponent would run around screens, and the same was the case on Sunday. There were moments when Wiggins would try to get open off the ball, and when Anderson would finally catch up, Wiggins would have the upper hand and use his quickness to get into the paint. Rebounding on the defensive end was a bright spot for Anderson, as he usually grabbed the rebounds in his area, and pushed the ball up the floor. He also tallied three steals, as he was getting his hands involved on semi-double teams, so long as he still knew where his man was.

Bryce Cotton Observation

Overall: In 22 minutes as the starting point guard, Cotton scored three points on 1-of-6 shooting, while throwing four assists, and grabbing three rebounds.

Offensive Observation: Cotton started the game matched up with Matthew Dellavedova for the majority of the first half, and each played very similar roles offensively. They both would get the offense going into their sets, and Cotton in particular, wasn’t as aggressive offensively like he was Friday in the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings. Cotton was showing his facilitation more on Sunday, as he would penetrate toward the free throw line area, and then make reads in delivering the ball to the next open man. His only make was a jumper off a screen, and even on some of his misses, he still looked like he displayed solid form on his jump shot, as he bounced off two feet before launching the shot. When he ran pick-and-rolls and defenders hedged hard on him, he had to work to find an open man, as it wasn’t easy for him to shake his defender.

Defensive Observation: Defensively in the few times Dellavedova tried to score, Cotton had trouble going around picks and recovering in time to contest the shot. In the second half, when Will Cherry began to get going, Cotton had trouble staying in front of him, as Cherry was able to beat him off the dribble. Cherry also made two 3-pointers over Cotton, but even any of the other Spurs who were switched onto Cherry, had a difficult time stopping him from scoring or creating for others.

The Spurs’ Summer League squad will play their third game on Monday against the New Orleans Pelicans at 5:30 PM CST.

Paul Garcia

About Paul Garcia

Paul is a San Antonio Spurs credentialed media member for Project Spurs. He covered the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, TX, and the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals. Paul has been featured on WOAI, Fox 29, and numerous nationwide radio shows.