Spurs guard James Anderson recently spoke to the Oklahoman about starting his career with the Spurs.
Unlike some rookies who come into their rookie seasons with many expectations and pressures on their shoulders, Anderson, formerly the Big 12 player of the year, was drafted and comes to a team with several all-stars.
For Anderson, the former star at Oklahoma State, there is not a better place to begin his professional journey.
“It’s a big relief,” Anderson said before Monday’s exhibition against the Thunder. “It’s such a great organization. You really don’t have any pressure on your back. You can just play and learn the game.”
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and the rest of the coaching staff now want to see Anderson improve his defense. It’s a requisite Anderson says is challenging but one that he thinks is being accelerated through practice battles against the likes of Manu Ginobili and Richard Jefferson.
“When I’m not guarding them, I’m looking at them and paying close attention to see how they work within the system,” Anderson said. “And them defending me is helping me out on my offense. It’s a great way to come in as a rookie.”
The 6-6 Anderson is averaging 5.5 points and 2.2 rebounds per game his preseason, and while his natural position is shooting guard, he looks like the favorite to win the backup small forward position over Alonzo Gee and Bobby Simmons.
Anderson’s transition and contribution to the team may not be something you see on opening day, as he was just cleared for 5-on-5 play a few days before training camp. He’s been working himself back into shape, but if his two blocks and steals against the Heat are any indication, he may be able to help on defense more than originally expected.