Injuries have been a big factor for the Minnesota Timberwolves so far this season, as most of their key players have been sidelined for at least a game or two with ailments of varying seriousness. They have been particularly depleted recently at small forward and shooting guard, with Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger, Malcolm Lee and Josh Howard all suffering knee injuries. Roy looks on track to return to action soon, but his history with knee problems makes any contribution he can offer a bonus. Budinger is expected to be out until March, while Lee is expected to miss the rest of the season and Howard was waived last week after suffering a torn ACL.
So the Timberwolves have to address their need for a wing player, and reportedly will have guard James Anderson in for a workout on Thursday. Anderson was waived by the San Antonio Spurs last week after averaging just 3.4 points per game in 10 games played this season. The former first-round pick (20th overall-2010) was also waived by the Atlanta Hawks late in training camp before landing back with the Spurs, with whom he spent his first two NBA seasons, in November. He never found a permanent role in San Antonio’s rotation, even during those first two seasons, so it was clearly best for player and team to move on.
Anderson was a productive scorer during his college career at Oklahoma State, culminating with averaging 22.3 points per game as a junior during the 2009-2010 season on his way to being named Big 12 Player of the Year and a first-team All-American by The Sporting News. He is still young enough (23) to perhaps recapture that form, but it’s at best uncertain if the Timberwolves will offer enough playing time to make that become a reality.
Anderson can help fill minutes at both shooting guard and small forward for the Timberwolves, which is precisely what they need someone to do. I feel like his inability to earn a significant role on a deep Spurs’ team is not a huge red flag, and he can still become a productive player with the right opportunity. That opportunity may not ultimately be in Minnesota, as they are unlikely to sign him or anyone else to any sort of guaranteed contract, but otherwise I think Anderson could be a solid fit for what the Timberwolves need right now.