MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Memphis Grizzlies made former San Antonio Spurs swingman, Kyle Anderson, their top target in free agency this offseason, because of his defensive skill set and high basketball IQ, but Anderson wants to be known for more than just his knowledge of the game and defensive prowess.
Anderson is entering his fifth season in the NBA. It’s the point where most players want to be well established and play their peak basketball. Anderson is close, but he’s been a role player so far in his short NBA career.
“I have a lot more room to grow. That’s a good thing really," Anderson said. "I have a lot more time to get better. I think I’m still young. I just turned 25. A lot more room to grow in this league, and show what else I can do. I’ve done it on other levels when people said I couldn’t. Why not go out here and show it on this level?”
While he wasn’t a starter in San Antonio, Anderson made a name for himself with the Spurs with his versatility. He can play the two, the three--his natural position--and even match up with guys at the four.
Anderson is nicknamed “Slow-Mo” for the way he almost glides on the court in slow motion, and has a 7-foot-3 wingspan, which allows him to play solid defense. This year Anderson wants to become a complete player. That means taking more shots, and knocking them down.
“I think it’s important as an NBA player to take the open shot given to me," Anderson said. "Maybe I didn’t do that or much of it in the past, but it’s important now for me as an established NBA player. I have to take that open shot. That’s what I’ve been working on, but we’ll see. I’ve put the work in so it’s going to turn out well.”
When the Spurs drafted Anderson in 2014 there was an expectation that Slow-Mo would eventually become a consistent three point shooter, a part of his game that yet to fully develop. Grizzlies head coach JB Bickerstaff said if Anderson does become a solid perimeter threat, it means bad things for opposing teams.
“He’s a matchup nightmare at that point. If he becomes a 37 percent, 38 percent three point shooter, and now guys have to close out at him," Bickerstaff said. "He has the ability to put the ball on the floor, and has the size to see, make plays and finish at the rim. So the combination could be lethal.”
Bickerstaff said the Grizzlies will create plenty of open looks for Slow-Mo this year, he just has to be confident in knocking his shots down.
Anderson and the Grizzlies open preseason play against the Houston Rockets in Birmingham on Tuesday at 7 p.m.