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Getting To Know The New Guy: Alan Anderson


As the league continues to advance through its annual heat wave of free agency, the Washington Wizards have partaken in a good portion of the summertime activities with the one-year signings of Gary Neal, Jared Dudley, and most recently Alan Anderson. Still missing in action is that highly coveted stretch big that would replace the obsolete parts that have become Nene, however, there is no question that the glaring void in the wing factory has been populated. If John Wall ever had an issue with having a wingman on the basketball court (or perhaps at the club as well), he has certainly become equipped with some additional arsenal now, practically guaranteeing him at least two shooters alongside him every time he’s on the floor. This is a huge deal. Perhaps even a much bigger deal than we imagine it to be now. Just wait and see.

So, over the next few days I, and perhaps some of my other Hoop District colleagues will outline who these guys are, beginning right now with Alan Anderson.

Anderson is a former All-Big Ten standout from Michigan State, where he played all four years and helped lead the team to a nearly successful Final Four campaign as their primary point guard and ball handler. Anderson is also very passionate about his Spartans, evidenced by the number of tweets he posts making sure you repeat “SPARTANS” in a 300 voice (likely in a Gerard Butler voice because, I mean, unless you feel dominating saying it in Lena Headey’s).

Though his success at MSU didn’t earn him a selection in the drafft, he later signed on as an undrafted free agent with the Charlotte Bobcats.

To little surprise, Anderson ended up leaving the NBA to play overseas for the next five years because I guess that’s just the kind of decisions you are lured into making after playing for the shitty Bobcats. Stints in Italy, Russia, Croatia, Israel, Spain, and China along with a few D-League pit stops was the path Anderson took en route to his return to the NBA in 2011, when he signed with the Raptors. This is where his game began to evolve, especially as a defender. As is the sequence with most players who show effort and hustle on defense, they soon earn the trust of their coach. Anderson did just that with Dwayne Casey and hence, went from a 10-day contract to starting 12 of the final 17 games of the 2011-12 season. The next season, Alan served as an enforcer off the bench, averaging 10.7 points in 23 minutes per game.

BROOOOOKLYYYNNNN is where Anderson’s strides continued. For the past two seasons, he accumulated the most floor time in his NBA career, starting 45 of 152 games played. But what’s more substantial is his performance in last year’s playoff run against the Hawks. In only six first-round games, Anderson averaged 11 points with an eFG% of .732. In Game 5, Anderson had the game of his life, scoring 23 points on 9-for-11 shooting, also knocking down all four of his 3-point shots. Not yet surfaced are the presumed blurry iOS shots of Anderson popping a $90k bottle of Ace of Spade in celebration of his career milestone.

Pause real quick to admire this shake by Anderson that had Jae Crowder playing hopscotch on the Barclays Center floor.

Okay, you may proceed now.

Anderson arrives in DC with the momentum of a fairly successful career re-up. The “3-and-D” job task has become quite the popular one in today’s NBA, and the necessity for those types of guys is prominent for many NBA teams, particularly ones that enjoy playing with small lineups. Luckily for the Wizards, Randy Wittman is no longer shying away from that concept. His work to earn minutes is cut out for him given the increased depth of the wing position with Otto, Oubre, Dudley, and Neal all challenging for playing time. But Anderson could definitely mold into a perfect fit in the Wizards rotation should he crack it. Depending on the size of the opposing lineup, Anderson’s defense could put him in position to check anyone from the 1 to the 4, and in return create scoring opportunities going the other way. His versatility in the open floor will be a prize for the man who spearheads the Wiz fast breaks.

It’s obvious Alan Anderson is not a household name and certainly not the most formidable player on the floor at any time and most likely is never fully game-planned for by opposing defenses. But that is why this has the makings of a great situation for Anderson, John Wall, and the Wizards. On occasion – several ones, Anderson will probably be forgotten loitering in the corner 3 area while Wall sucks in defenders like a Dyson vacuum. But he will only be forgotten until that very moment, after defenders have decided to dog pile on John, unbeknownst to the subsequent pass John will dart to Anderson for an open shot. Here’s a spoiler:

Remember, this is exactly what got Martell paid before his back crapped out, and this is exactly how Trevor Ariza got 32 million bucks richer in southern Texas. This is also exactly why the acquisitions of above-average shooters are more valuable for the Wizards than they would be for most other teams.

So, what else is so cool about Alan? Let’s start with his class and character.

The quality of an athlete’s character can be gauged through a variety of measures. Some folks like to resort only to a player’s on-court habits and demeanor to judge them. For instance, John Wall is an angel for having a pass-first mindset and for being perpetually all-in on defense. Chris Paul is classified as an asshole because he refuses to give his own teammates a high-five. Former NBA point guard Terrell Brandon used to dap up opposing players after a good play. Andre Iguodala tried to do the same but failed. Those are nice guys. Dennis Rodman kicked a cameraman in the balls. He is not a nice guy.

But character quality can also be measured via other things, like the attention one gives to serious worldly matters unrelated to sports. Pleasantly, Alan Anderson falls under that category.

Here he is alongside his Brooklyn teammates and Jay-Z paying respects to Eric Garner, a murdered victim of police brutality.

Anderson is also heedful of his appearance. Keeping those button-ups on fleek!

Alan Anderson also knows an excellent pop star when he hears one.

A supporting father, Anderson likes to big up his son after he draws an awesome 3-eyed martian standing on Mars.

No question that Anderson had an excellent view from his home in NYC. But now I can’t wait to see what amazing DC scenery his new terrace will overlook.

One thing Alan will probably need to do is step that Instagram game up. If he does decide to seek any support with this, he’ll need to get it from #KSLife while he’s still around.


A warm welcome to D.C., Alan Anderson! You have the opportunity to play the best basketball of your life here alongside the league’s best distributing point guard and within a system that’s derived from an emphasis and focus on defense. Pounce on it.

we are Hoop District

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