Anderson was one of the surprisingly competent 10-day contract players Toronto brought in towards the end of last season, and while many of us believed Ben Uzoh might be the 10-day player that eventually stuck with the team, Anderson should be fine in what appears to be a role as roughly the team’s 14th man, providing depth at the wings.
Anderson, who will turn 30 in October, has spent parts of three seasons in the NBA between the Bobcats and Raptors. He’s averaged 6.7 points in 18 minutes per game over 70 career appearances, averaging a career-high 9.6 points in 17 games with the Raptors this past Spring while playing 27 minutes per night.
While Anderson’s career shooting percentage of 41.3 is abysmal, he’s actually a solid three-point shooter, converting on over 39 per cent of his attempts last season and 38.1 per cent of three-point attempts in his career.
I’m not so much up for a discussion about Anderson himself as much as I’m up for a discussion about what this signing means for the Raptors, and what it means is that barring a Calderon trade or an unexpected late move, we probably now have the 14-man roster that will head to Halifax for training camp in October.
Point Guard: Kyle Lowry, Jose Calderon, John Lucas III
Shooting Guard: DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, Alan Anderson (DeRozan, Fields, Ross and Anderson will see some time between the two and three, filling the team’s “wing” minutes)
Small Forward: Landry Fields, Linas Kleiza, Quincy Acy
Power Forward: Andrea Bargnani, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson
Centre: Jonas Valanciunas, Aaron Gray (Amir will probably get some minutes at the five, as will Bargnani)
If Bryan Colangelo sticks with this group to start the season, we’ll see a deeper team from the one that started last season, a more natural defensive team than the one that started last season, but yet one that should still improve offensively.
When you consider that over the span of a year, Kyle Lowry, John Lucas III, Terrence Ross, Landry Fields, Alan Anderson, Quincy Acy and Jonas Valanciunas have replaced Jerryd Bayless, Anthony Carter, Leandro Barbosa, Gary Forbes, James Johnson, Rasual Butler, Jamaal Magloire and Solomon Alabi, I think it’s fair to say that this roster has improved at the point, at the wings, and in the middle.
With a new head coach coming in without a proper pre-season and training camp, a slew of injuries to their few key players, and an overall mix of some very questionable/tanking-level talent, the Raptors finished 2011-2012 on pace for 28.6 wins over a full 82-game schedule.
The group we’re currently looking at can contend for an Eastern Conference playoff spot if they stay healthy and things bounce their way, but I think a realistic expectation is somewhere in the range of 35 wins. That would likely give the Rockets a lottery pick somewhere between No. 8 and No. 12 in what is expected to be a pretty weak draft.
If Lowry plays up to his capabilities, the trade will turn out well for the Raptors, and the team should be able to move forward with an intriguing mix of young talent and some financial flexibility next summer.
I’m not sold on this Raptors squad as a playoff team just yet, but looking at things with 14 signed players on July 30, I am sold on the fact that we’ll see a much better basketball team this season, and one that will be much more exciting and enjoyable to watch.