It may have been a signing that went rather under the radar, but re-signing Alan Anderson was an extremely important move for the Brooklyn Nets. On Monday, the Nets re-signed Anderson to a two-year deal worth $2.6 million. Considering the role Anderson played for Brooklyn last season, this is definitely a bargain.
The Nets appear to be attempting to cut spending, shown by their unwillingness to offer Paul Pierce the contract he desired, so cheap deals like Anderson’s are of the utmost importance for Brooklyn. While this signing seems like a small move made to fill a bench spot, Anderson will most likely play a pivotal role for Brooklyn this season. Last offseason, Anderson was in a similar position. He signed with the Nets for the veteran’s minimum and was initially buried on the depth chart behind Joe Johnson and Jason Terry. No one expected him to have the season that he did. Anderson ended up starting 26 games, averaging 22.7 minutes per game and was key part of Brooklyn’s turnaround and success.
Anderson scored 7.2 points per game, but his contributions went far beyond his offensive numbers. Anderson’s defense really stood out at times, as he often took on challenges of defending the opposing team’s best shooting guard or small forward. He was able to defend on the perimeter and down low in the post, and he was arguably the Nets’ most consistent defender.
Another thing about Anderson is that he always had a positive attitude. He exceeded expectations when he got opportunities due to Deron Williams‘ frequent injuries and Terry’s atrocious play, but when on the bench he was constantly involved, serving as motivation which carried over to the court with his great communication to the other players. Anderson deserves a lot of credit for Brooklyn’s turnaround after their 10-21 start, and he was a stable member of the starting lineup for a good portion of that stretch.
As a starter, Anderson was not relied on for scoring, as the Nets had better scorers in Johnson, Pierce and Williams. Anderson mainly brought his defensive skills to the table as a starter. However, he was very consistent with his three-point and mid-range shooting. Anderson played in big-time situations and hit some clutch shots including a huge game against the San Antonio Spurs and a four-point play in the playoffs against the Toronto Raptors, where he actually started the two must-win games. He also did not hesitate to drive to the basket and draw fouls when necessary, and his passing abilities were underrated last season too.
Anderson could find himself in a similar position as last season. Behind Johnson, the Nets have Markel Brown, Mirza Teletovic, Bojan Bogdanovic, Andrei Kirilenko, Sergey Karasev and Xavier Thames. Brown is a rookie shooting guard who will not see a lot of action this season as he adjusts to the NBA and learns from other players. Teletovic had a breakout season last year, but he will likely play minutes as a four due to Brooklyn’s lack of depth behind Kevin Garnett. Bogdanovic has a lot of potential but may struggle in the beginning. Kirilenko, like Teletovic, will likely have to play big off the bench for Brooklyn, and Karasev and Thames in all likelihood will ride the bench. Clearly the Nets have pieces, but there are risks and uncertainties associated with each player competing for minutes. Therefore, Anderson could find himself as a starter, or at the very least play over 20 minutes per game again.
Re-signing Anderson may not have been a flashy move for the Nets, but it could turn out to be crucial. He will be huge as a defensive-stopper and will be a leader to the new, young players the Nets have on their bench. Brooklyn could not afford to lose Anderson, and the front office made a wise decision by bringing him back on a two-year deal.
Jordan Berkowitz is a Brooklyn Nets and NBA writer for RantSports.com