SAN ANTONIO – For San Antonio Spurs rookie Kyle Anderson, he’s beginning the early stages of his NBA career Friday, as he’ll be participating in his first Summer League game in Las Vegas. Asked Wednesday about his early impressions of Anderson, Spurs Summer League head coach Ime Udoka used two traits that are described amongst most of the Spurs’ players on roster – high IQ and knowledge of the game.
“High IQ, very knowledgeable player,” said Udoka of Anderson. “I’ve seen him over the years, I kind of know what he does.”
“He’s somebody that can play multiple positions, guard multiple positions,” continued Udoka on Anderson. “He’s basically like a point-forward out there. We’ll have him out there doing a lot of different things, but he’s a great passer, he plays at a very good pace.”
When I asked Anderson if there’s a certain role the Spurs are looking to see him play in Vegas, Anderson indicated positions on the wing.
“I spoke to Coach Pop (Gregg Popovich) the day after the draft,” said Anderson. “He told me he wanted to see me play the one a little bit, play the two, (and) play the three. Just figure out where I’m most comfortable.”
Like Udoka said, Anderson is a player that can play multiple areas on the floor. “I can play many positions, but whatever they see me as most comfortable is what I’m willing to play,” added Anderson.
Two Spurs from the 2014 NBA Championship team will be joining Anderson in Las Vegas, as Jeff Ayres and Austin Daye were both selected for the Spurs’ Summer League team. Anderson said he hopes get a good feel for the system, and he’ll be relying on the two veterans for guidance and leadership.
For Ayres, though what he has seen initially from Anderson is positive, he knows there’s still a long journey before a true scouting report can be conducted on the rookie.
“He’s good,” said Ayres of Anderson. “But like I said, it’s only been a couple of days (that I’ve been working with him). It’s hard to gauge how someone’s going to be in the future or at Summer League. We haven’t even really done anything yet, so right now he’s picking everything up really fast.”
“You know, we’re just going to try to keep bringing him along,” said Ayres of the guidance he and Daye will provide to Anderson. “When he gets into training camp and when Pop’s here, it’s a little different when he’s looking at you, trying to make sure you’re trying to do everything right, so we’re just going to try and make sure he’s as prepared as he can be when the season comes,” continued Ayres.
When asked if he’s told Anderson just how Popovich can be when he redirects his players, Ayres said he’ll likely let Anderson find out for himself when that day comes.
“No I haven’t told him quite yet,” said Ayres. “I might just have to wait and let him deal with it, when it happens. I haven’t decided yet.”
Anderson said though he’s enjoying his early impressions of the city of San Antonio, there’s one difference he’s noticed between Texas and his home and collegiate states – the temperature difference.
“It’s hot down here,” said Anderson of San Antonio. “I went to school in California and I’m from New Jersey.”
Anderson comes to the Spurs being described as the best passer in the 2014 NBA Draft. He attributed his strong passing qualities and unselfishness to his father, whom coached him growing up.
“He always played me two or three age groups up,” said Anderson of his father. “I had to get used to playing guys who were stronger and faster.”
Anderson said that by learning to play with elder players over the years, he had to defer more to the kids who could score more. However, since he had a height advantage than most point guards, he was able to make passes and read the floor. Once Anderson finally began playing players in his own age group, he knew he had an advantage due to his passing ability.
“When I came up to my age group, I knew how to play the game, and I knew how to use my teammates to my advantage,” said Anderson.
For Anderson, living in California while attending UCLA didn’t allow him to watch every single Spurs regular season game, but he said he did watch the team through the majority of their championship run. Anderson even said there was one play Boris Diaw made to Manu Ginobili in the playoffs, that he saw developing before it happened.
As for the nickname that he currently has, “Slo-Mo,” Anderson says it’s a nickname that began in the playgrounds of New York City and it’s followed him throughout the early part of his life.
Anderson may once again have elder players he’ll have to pass to once training camp begins with San Antonio, but for now as he heads to the city where the sky doesn’t snow, he’ll have to show what “Slo-Mo” can do against those in his own age group.