It is not often when one realistically asks the question whether or not a 6-foot-9, 230-pound forward could one day man the point guard position in the NBA, let alone the same spot Tony Parker currently occupies for the San Antonio Spurs.
It has already been noted countless times that the newest member of the Spurs, Kyle Anderson, has a very similar type of game to that of his teammate Boris Diaw. Diaw, you might recall, came into the league as a point guard when he was first drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 2003, but over time he became more of a forward and back-to-the-basket option in the post. While Patty Mills and Cory Joseph are still great options to fill that void once Parker (who is currently 32) eventually retires, Anderson is really not that ridiculous of a suggestion to one day fill that void.
Mills is really a shooting guard in a point guard’s body. Joseph still has to prove that he can knock down a jump shot with consistency, although his defense is definitely already outstanding. Joseph is also only 22 years old and has already made great strides to improve his game since he came into the league.
Anderson averaged 14.6 points per game, 8.8 rebounds per game and a startling 6.5 assists per game as a forward for the UCLA Bruins during his sophomore year. You read that right — a forward who averaged 6.5 assists per contest.
Anderson acquired the nickname “Slow-Mo” during his time at UCLA. This was because of how patient and deliberately he plays the game. He does not rush to make the home run pass or attempt to make a difficult shot if a defender has a hand in his face. He is calm, cool and collected, and this is why he is a fantastic addition to the Spurs.
He was taken with the 30th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Spurs. Because of the depth of the draft, Anderson fell farther than a lot of people thought he would. If you would have put him in any other draft over the last five years, he might have gone in the lottery.
Could he potentially be the starting point guard for the Spurs one day? Absolutely. Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd has already stated that he plans on using 6-foot-11 Giannis Antetokounmpo at the point guard position this season.
Just like “small-ball” was a huge thing in the NBA over the last few years (and still is), playing big guys with phenomenal handling ability at the point guard position might be the next trend in the NBA if the Spurs also decide to test Anderson at this position too.
The Spurs are sometimes wrongly pigeonholed as being too conservative and too obsessed with their “system”. But tell that to players like Danny Green and his aggressive shot selection, which might seem iffy at times. However, he has earned head coach Gregg Popovich‘s trust over time. Popovich gives Green the same advice he dishes out to Mills and Matt Bonner, which is “if you are open from three, take it”. The Spurs are more than happy to tinker with lineups and let their guys be creative as long as they do not stray too far away from the confines of that sacred system.
This makes Anderson an interesting piece to the puzzle. Do not be surprised if the Spurs try him at the point guard slot. After all, Mills is out until at least February, and what if Joseph has an off night once in a while?
Anderson has a unique game and incredible attitude that makes him a perfect for this team. He will need to work hard for Popovich’s trust just like every other player, but when he eventually does, Spurs fans could very well see him orchestrating the offense for large chunks of the season.
And perhaps this will be the case for years to come.