Hello basketball lovers and enthusiasts. Welcome to the second season installment of the “Making the Leap” series. From now until the beginning of the 2016-2017 regular season, I will be talking about certain NBA players who kind of flew under the radar and have the potential to take their game to the next level. Last year I talked about Kyle Anderson, Jordan Clarkson, Jae Crowder, K.J. McDaniels and Aaron Gordon making improvements in their respective gamea. The first player I will be taking about in the 2016 offseason is Justin Anderson of the Dallas Mavericks
Anderson was selected 21st in the 2015 NBA Draft following his three years at the University of Virginia. During his time at Virginia, he was known to have a high motor and the ability to shoot the three (shot 45.2% in his final season). In the 2015 Summer League, Anderson averaged 17.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in six games played.
During the NBA season however, there is not much to look at. He rode the bench for most of the season, receiving 27 total DNP-CD’s (did not play, coaches decision) and spent time down with the Texas Legends, the Mavericks D-League affiliation. Once injuries started piling up, Anderson’s name was called up late in the Dallas’ playoff run and he played fairly well.
Justin Anderson’s 2015-2016 regular season stat line:
3.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.3 steals and 0.4 blocks in 11.8 minutes per gam while shooting 40.6% from the field (including 26.5% from three). Played in 55 games, starting nine.
I know. Not eye-popping numbers. But like I said earlier he did not receive a lot of playing time but down the stretch he became a key contributor. During the Mavericks first round series agains the Oklahoma City Thunder, Anderson averaged close to 10 points. Again, not eye-popping but he showed improvement with more play time.
So let’s look at his sophomore campaign. With head coach Rick Carlisle giving him more play time towards the end of the year we can see the same for him in the 2016-2017 season.
Now will he start?
This depends on what Dallas decides to do with Chandler Parsons. A few seasons back, Parsons signed a big contract and never really lived up to expectations. He recently opted-out of the final year of his deal as he is looking for more money this offseason. With the way Anderson played at the end and his potential growth this summer, the Mavericks might pass up on signing him. If Parsons is gone, it’ll be the perfect opportunity for Justin Anderson to grow and become an import piece to this team as the Mavs eventually have to build a roster past the Dirk Nowitzki era. But hey we have a while to worry about that.
Justin Anderson is someone look out for next season. If he develops his three point shot, his defense, and ball handling he will have an impact in Dallas. He already has the size (6′ 6″, 228 lbs.) now he just needs to refine his skills.
Check back here soon as I continue with the “Making the Leap” series. Have any suggestions on who has the potential to take the next step? Tweet at us @BBallSociety_ and myself (@FonzyDeFalco) and let us know!