As the NBA lockout continues to be in session, Jason Fleming of Hoops World wrote a column assuming there will be a 2011-12′ NBA season.
In his piece, Fleming projects five players from the 2010 NBA draft to have breakout sophomore seasons after the five of them weren’t able to showcase their talent during the season due to injuries and limited play time.
James Anderson, San Antonio Spurs:Drafted as a junior out of Oklahoma State, Anderson promised to inject some youth and athleticism into an aging San Antonio Spurs organization. His presence and scoring ability was going to give a break to Manu Ginobili’s minutes and take some of the pressure off Richard Jefferson. Unfortunately, Anderson broke a bone in his right foot and missed two-and-a-half months while recovering. After being cleared, Anderson shuttled between the Spurs and their D-League team, the Austin Toros for about a month before spending the rest of the season in San Antonio. In Austin Anderson started all seven games, averaging 14.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals, and shot 45% from the field. After being recalled to the Spurs in late February his minutes were sporadic, but he did manage two starts; one in late March and one in April. It’s a small sample size, but in those two starts he averaged 4.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and half a steal, shooting 50% from the field. The Spurs are limited by the salary cap – no matter what it is – because of the contracts they have on the books, so they need Anderson to become a good player for them.
After the season ended, I wrote my “Room For Improvement” column on Anderson and what he would need to do to earn those minutes and become a key part in the Spurs’ system.
Today, Anderson can only prepare as if there will be a season while Fleming and most writers will continue to write pieces as well assuming there will be a season.
The question becomes: if the lockout eats into several months of the season, will Anderson get the playing time to collect a roster spot? If there is a 50-game season the Spurs will do everything in their power to secure a playoff seed, that would mean head coach Gregg Popovich would most likely rely on those members of last year’s squad to carry the heavy burden of getting the team into the postseason.
Plus, his stellar play at the Vegas Impact League should indicate he is ready to contribute mightily for San Antonio especially seeing how his injury seems to be healed 100%.
A scenario like this could hurt Anderson’s chances of having a key role on next season’s team.
Do you agree Spurs fans? Is Anderson primed for a breakout season?