. . . and put Manu Ginobili back on the bench.
It's not what you were expecting to hear because Manu is well Manu, Anderson played sparingly in 26 games, especially when he came back from injury, and Richard Jefferson is considered the weak link in the starting five depending on what you think of whoever is starting at the five spot.
Last season, there was a log jam at the two spot, and because of his injury, Anderson was the odd man out. Once Anderson went down, Gary Neal flourished in the back up role at the two. Now that George Hill has been traded, the Spurs don't have a back up to Tony Parker, and as we just covered, Neal spent way more time playing the two and - Lord help us all - the three (if Neal is 6'4" I'm next in line to replace David Stern as NBA Commissioner).
Putting Neal and Anderson in the backcourt together without Hill or Parker probably isn't the best idea. Making Neal the starter would pretty much kill any chance you have at improving defensively on the perimeter, something our man Paul Garcia wrote about in his terrific piece on Neal's Room For Improvement.
So what's the most logical move? Make Anderson your starting shooting guard and have Manu and Neal be the back up backcourt. Manu is still going to be the first guy off the bench, which means Anderson or Jefferson will be the first guy to the bench. Making this roster will also save the Spurs from having to spend a sizeable chunk of whatever free agency money they have on a back up point guard and then they can spend all of whatever cash they have on finding another big man. Not sold on James Anderson? I understand, you haven't seen him in a while and when you did you didn't get to see much. But let's remember a couple of things, Anderson is a long 6'6" former Big 12 Player of the Year who can shoot the lights out, which is exactly what the Spurs love to have on the wing with Parker. Remember Michael Finley?.
Before his foot injury, Anderson was quickly working his way in to the rotation despite being limited during the summer and fall because the Spurs were being cautious with a hamstring injury. He shot 46 percent from three in the six games he played before his foot injury. His November 3rd game against Phoenix was his most impressive, when he played some big minutes in a back and forth game in Phoenix that will be remembered as Jefferson's best game as a Spur. Anderson had two great passes to Jefferson, including one on the fast break that I remember made me raise my eye brows. There was also this play early in the preseason where Anderson showed his defensive instincts, and in his limited play Anderson did show he's a good defensive player, both man to man and on help defense.
Here's the deal Spurs fans, this season is going to be one where the Spurs will likely have to take a couple of risks. Trading Hill means they lost their shot creator for the second unit. Has there been a better shot creator than Manu this side of George Gervin for the Spurs? Also, imagine how energetic the second unit will look with Manu creating, Neal and Bonner shooting and DeJuan Blair and Kawhi Leonard diving to the basket for the boards.
The Spurs still need size, that's for sure, but putting Anderson - and Tiago Splitter - in the staring lineup would make the Spurs a bigger starting-five and would limit some of the defensive mismatches they encountered last season.
Manu can't continue to make things happen off the bench like he could four years ago. You need to stop relying on Manu to be the one to carry the bench. Besides if we loose this year to a lockout that means Manu only has a year left before he retires. What are we going to do when he's gone? Who's going to carry the bench then.
Spurs in 3 years:
Parker, Anderson/Butler/Neal, Leonard/Richards/Bertans, Splitter/Blair, ?
By all accounts, Anderson is definitely part of the Spurs future. Perhaps Richard, Bertans, etc. are as well. Duncan will be gone and Manu and TP will be too old to play over 28 mins per game. Spurs fans need to realize that the next generation that will take us to a championship is HERE now.
Let's start playing them, figure out who can play and who can't, then build around THEM.
I think the spurs haven't done so well in preparing players for the future they have a D-league now so in my opinion that is a perfect place to develop players.They do a great job drafting players but then their stashed oversea's for years you don't want to have a Luis Scola situation again if some of these players were to play for the toro's they learn the system understand what is expected of them, a few call ups through out the year to get a taste of the NBA life so they'll be prepared for future use.Really the Spurs should have been looking for a Tim Duncan replacement back in 2005 but hopefully "DOUBLE R" (Ryan Richards) will at least join the toro's, Anderson i could see starting along with Tiago they still need some more bigs and a good back up veteran point guard (Jose Calderon) Joesph may not be ready to be a full time back up. All in all the Spurs look good for the future Leonard,Anderson,Splitter sound promising and let's hope Spurs can get G.Hill back, it has to be some financial reason why these overseas players take so long to come over. What's up with Nando De Colo
I agree with the observation that the spurs suffered mismatches. Its really not that there were no viable and available young and tall power forwards and centers two years ago or last year> it seems to be that since TD was signed, the spurs never had an understudy to sub for TD or a back-up when hs is injured. Again, blair is good but, he just cant compete when taller players. Lesson: There so few good power forwards and center so the spurs must prepare. Not all those coming from college are nba ready but, tyson was not as good then as today. The spurs must invest, train early like ryan richards. He might not be good enough now what about the coming seasons?
i thought the same thing when george got traded..also when spurs were resting players agains lakers nderson played great defence on kobe even though his shot wasnt falling..he did a much better job on kobe than danny green did anyway..i completely agree with this article and tyrone jenkins below me
@tyoravits I disagree. The Spurs have been playing players out of position or undersized players for the position for too long. Anderson is a SG - he should only play at SF whenever RJ or Leonard aren't available (resting, injured, etc.)
I actually like the idea of Anderson starting and Manu coming off the bench...
Manu stays a starter and have Anderson start for Jefferson. So Parker, Manu, Anderson, Duncan and Splitter. I know Anderson is a SG, but he could manage as an SF to.
Parker, Anderson, Leonard, Duncan and Splitter would be my favourite five, with Manu, Neal, Joseph, Blair coming from the bench
@josespurs I think Kawhi may be in the starting rotation eventually but I'd be stunned if, assuming he's still on the team, Richard Jefferson isn't the starting 3 for the Spurs whenever the season starts. If RJ can be aggressive RJ he was for the first couple of months of last season I think having he and Anderson in the starting 5 would really open up the paint for Parker and keep any potential doubles off of Duncan.