Welcome to Memphis, Kyle Anderson

Kyle Anderson is going to be the newest addition to the Memphis Grizzlies. For those of you who may not know, Anderson is a  6’ 9”, 230 lb SF out of UCLA who was drafted 30th in the 2014 NBA draft by the San Antonio Spurs. It should not be shocking to you that the Spurs took a late first rounder and developed him into a solid player. From the 1997 Tim Duncan draft to as recent as 2016, their average draft pick was 27th.

Enough about the Spurs. Now the fun stuff.

In his 4 years in the NBA, Anderson has averaged 4.9p/3.6r/1.7a on 47%/33%/73% shooting. In each of the years post his rookie season, Anderson has proved himself a durable player by making appearances in over 70 games in each of those 3 seasons. Last year he played a much bigger role on the Spurs in the absence of Kawhi Leonard as he started in 67 regular season games and averaged over 26 minutes per game, which was a 12 minute increase in his previous campaign. He was actually third on the Spurs roster last season in minutes played – his 1,978 minutes played would have been good enough for third on the 2017-2018 Grizzlies also –  behind only LaMarcus Aldridge and Patty Mills. This durability and ability to put in minutes is something that cannot be overstated for the Grizzlies, since most of our important players are made partly of glass.

More: Grizz Rook, Jaren Jackson, Jr. — An Irrationally Early Analysis

What you will quickly discover is that Anderson’s value is not directly found in his scoring ability. He averaged a tick under 8 PPG last season and shot 33% from behind the arc on less than 1 attempt per game.

kyle anderson shot chart
Anderson’s 2017-2018 Shot Chart  via NBASavant.com

Kyle is more of a jack of all trades, semi master of some type of guy.  His nickname is actually “Slow Mo”, which would suggest that he is not extremely fleet of foot, but excels in finding other, more cerebral ways to compete and remain relevant. Check out this heads up play against our beloved Grizz.


The Spurs SB Nation site, Pounding the Rock, had this to say about Anderson in a recent article:

There’s a lot more to basketball than shooting, and Anderson is good at almost all of it. He can rebound, score in a pinch, find the open man and defend. With the league demanding positional flexibility, a guy that can realistically play both forward spots is valuable.

Anderson’s role on the Grizzlies

As previously discussed, Anderson was forced into a starting role last year for the first time in his career. In all fairness, if you have a competitive playoff team, which the Spurs weren’t, then Anderson should not be one of your top 6 or 7 guys. However, with the experience gained over his tenure in the NBA, he can be a valuable guy coming off the bench for the type of team that Chris Wallace is trying to assemble. That is the role that I see him playing for Memphis in the upcoming seasons. Remember Tayshaun Prince anyone? He put up fairly similar numbers to Anderson in the 2012-2013 season for the Grizzlies in the franchise’s most successful season to date. Glue guys can become just as much pillars for a franchise as the big money max contract players.

There is no way that JJJ won’t be starting immediately or sooner. This means that we are likely to see a 2nd unit that looks something like Carter-Harrison-Anderson-Parsons-Rabb (yes, I did leave some names out..that’s a topic for another day).

Jevon Carter was a 4 year player in college, so I anticipate that he will immediately be able to contribute. Andrew Harrison is not PG material, but I like him off the ball as it relieves the pressure on him and he has shown spurts of solid defense and occasional offensive prowess. Anderson and Chandler Parsons can both play the 3/4 positions and several of us here at The Barn think that Ivan Rabb will have a breakout season.

What is this going to cost Memphis?

According to reports, the Grizzlies offer to Anderson is $ 37.2 mm over 4 years with a 15% trade kicker. Memphis used up the full Mid-Level Exception with this signing, which puts the salary cap situation like this. This contract pencils in Anderson as a Grizz until the end of the 2021-2022 season. Right now Anderson is 24, so that means he will be 28 at the end of that contract. 

While some might say that paying Anderson in excess of $9 mm per season is outrageous, I implore that you think big picture. The Grizzlies are going with a hard Grit-n-Grind reset in the culture of the franchise. To do that, you need guys at the core who are not the most flashy, aesthetically pleasing players. Anderson falls right into that bucket and by the time that his contract is up, I am confident that he will have won the hearts and minds of Memphis fans. Hopefully in the near future we get to see this type of play, the type of play that exudes heart and toughness, the type of play that Memphians respect, the GNG.


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