With the Spurs in San Antonio chasing another ring, rookie Kyle Anderson will likely have to wait to answer the question of whether his funky game can translate to the NBA level.
But against bigger and more athletic NBA Development League competition, the 6-9 point-forward has fared just fine with the Spurs in Austin thus far.
Anderson has posted a double-double in each of his first four games on assignment, averaging 21.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks. He followed up a 22-point, 13-assist showing on Saturday with 27 points and 13 boards on Tuesday — consecutive stat lines that only a player with such a unique skill set could put up.
He’s done it in the same way he did it during his stellar sophomore season at UCLA: using his big body and long strides to create space on offense, despite seemingly moving in slow-motion (his nickname is Slow-Mo); taking bigger defenders off the dribble while posting up smaller defenders; and showcasing a quick trigger on mid-range pull-ups, with a step-back/fallaway that makes his jumper difficult to contest.
An even better sign for Anderson’s development has been his work on the defensive end, where his 7-2 wingspan has helped him control the glass, recover for blocks when his man beats him off the dribble and slide over to swat shots outside of his zone.
He faced a good test in 6-8, 245-pound pure power forward Jerrelle Benimon on Tuesday in the ultimate contrast in styles:
He showcased his point guard skills, especially on the fast break, against the Oklahoma City Blue:
He showed a nose for the ball against the Texas Legends last Thursday:
And he did a little bit of everything in his debut back in November: