The movie Moneyball tells the story of how Billy Beane, general manager of Oakland Athletics, revolutionized major league baseball in the early 2000s by using an analytical method of talent identification, which often included players who were lucky for various reasons had. While the method didn’t include just these types of players, Beane knew that the league’s major markets would not give massive contracts to players recently harmed by injury or even lately poor performance. So for a small market like Oakland to be successful, they had to find the rough diamonds.
Over the past 15 years, Bane’s revolution has spread beyond baseball, and teams like the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA, unable to attract big-name free agents, must find these unwanted diamonds excellent to compete. They did well in the last era of grizzlies basketball, and they did well in the new era for the past two years.
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Kyle Anderson, in particular, is the unwanted diamond that connects both eras of grizzlies basketball. The previous regime signed him freely, but it is the new regime that has benefited mainly from his presence.
When Anderson joined the freelance agency in the summer of 2018, his career seemed to be at a crossroads. It’s not that he was in danger of getting out of the league; he had shown himself to be a good defender and second playmaker after a solid fourth year in the league. However, when he was eligible for his first extension in limited free representation, the question remained of whether he could ever be more than a solid but limited role-player on a mediocre team.
Because as much as Gregg Popovich seems to love him, the San Antonio Spurs apparently broke when they failed to honor the $ 37 million 4-year deal he signed with the Grizzlies. To some extent, their logic made sense. Anderson may have had a “career year” behind him, but as a slow swingman who couldn’t shoot, he didn’t fit into the idealized “pace and space” shape that the NBA desperately desires. Prioritizing someone like Davis Bertans, who is a great, productive Sagittarius, made sense over someone like him.
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I give the Spurs the benefit of the doubt here because, as I said, their decision was reasonably rational. But it’s gotten so bad for her now that it would be sad if it wasn’t downright hilarious. After the Spurs re-signed Bertans to a two-year deal in the summer of 2018, they moved him to Washington the following summer on a three-team deal to clear cap space for signing Marcus Morris, who signed them. until he didn’t. He went back to his verbal commitment and instead signed with the New York Knicks.
To sum it up, the Spurs ran Kyle Anderson so they could bring back Davis Bertans, which they then essentially swapped after just a year to get Marcus Morris, who would never play a game for them. They essentially traded four years of Anderson for one year of Bertan’s and nothing else. Oh, and for the icing on the cake, Anderson has since proven himself to be an arguably superior player as a member of the Grizzlies.
They hate to see how the kids say it these days. It is a difficult scene indeed. As the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another’s treasure, and that was definitely the case with Kyle Anderson with the Grizzlies.
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In his first year in Memphis during the 2018-19 season, he was more or less the same player as he was for San Antonio last year. He was helpful as a versatile defender and secondary playmaker, but as an offensive threat he was still extremely limited. He would only play in 43 games due to constant right shoulder pain that had been a constant problem for him during his early years in the league, and he would have surgery in April 2019.
It wasn’t until the following season that it became immediately apparent how much Anderson’s constant shoulder pain was the reason he was so aggressively constrained throughout his NBA career. There’s a difference between a bad shooter and an injured shooter, and I think he made us forget the difference at times. After all, he shot 48% of three in decent volume in his sophomore year at UCLA, and his shot looked fluid back then. In the NBA, however, his form looked more like George Washington loading a Revolutionary War-era musket than an NBA player shooting a basketball.
For much of his sophomore year in Memphis, Anderson seemed inevitably to fall victim to a new regime that did not oblige him and a new coach whose ultra-modern system and style of play did not suit his game. His minutes took a pretty sharp cut, and he seemed like prime trading bait for a possible contender who needed help defensively.
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Yet as bizarre as it may seem, the pandemic has truly been a hidden boon to his career and helped him take his game to another level of Memphis. He was able to use the long break to finally get his shoulder healthy, and he stepped into the Orlando Bladder with noticeably renewed confidence.
This combination of health and confidence made him arguably the most important player in the Grizzlies last season, as his increased offensive skills along with his value as a playmaker have helped keep the team afloat in their role as a striker in the starting XI by Jaren Jackson Jr. He was a legitimate Dark Horse contender for winning Most Improved Player, hitting career highs in points (12.4) and assists (3.6) while becoming an above-average three-point shooter (36%) at solid volume (3.8.). Try).
Sure, Kyle Anderson was once like an old war musket – useful in the right situations, but it loads extremely slowly, and even if it finally does, you probably won’t hit anything with great accuracy. But now it has really become the Grizzlies’ Swiss Army Knife, useful in various roles in every situation.
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Anderson will no doubt show up in trade talks as the season progresses. He’s entering the final year of his contract, and the Grizzlies may not want to let him go for free. It was a diamond in the rough to Memphis, but it won’t be overlooked much longer. It will be a sought-after commodity in 2022, and the Grizzlies may not want to pay it the money it takes.
Not only do I expect him to stay with the Grizzlies this year, though, I expect them to give him an extension. Kyle Anderson was and will be excellent this year and it’s hard to imagine that the Grizzlies will make a big splash in 2022.
There’s no better way to spend that money than on the undervalued overproducer the Grizzlies.
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