Written by: Mike Patton (http://www.sportsawakening.com)
Marc Gasol and Mike Conley Jr. are all that remain from a Memphis squad that used to be physical and impose their will on other teams. The Grit and Grind has been replaced with the Sad and Struggling as the Grizzlies were one of the worst teams in the NBA. Heading into the draft, plenty wondered if they were going to try and acquire more picks while trying to get rid of small forward Chandler Parsons. As expected, no one wanted Parsons and the Grizzlies kept their pick, selecting versatile big man Jaren Jackson Jr. out of Michigan State. Jackson Jr. has shown some promise and gives the Grizzlies hope for their future, but needing another big man was not the only hole the Grizzlies had. The small forward position Parsons was supposed to fill was still open and waiting on someone to claim it. Well, as the team currently stands, they have found someone in free agency to step into that spot. The Grizzlies signed Spurs forward Kyle Anderson to a four-year, $37.2 million offer sheet and the Spurs will not match that offer sheet, clearing the way for Anderson to join the Grizzlies. So with that addition to the team, what will Anderson give the Grizzlies?
Well one thing he will definitely give Memphis is some versatility. Kyle Anderson is listed as a small forward, but in today’s NBA he can play both the small and the power forward position because of his 6’9″ frame with long arms. He will more than likely start out at the small forward position with Jackson Jr. likely starting at power forward and Gasol starting at center. When teams get smaller, however, Anderson can move to the power forward position and the team can move Jackson Jr. to the center position. Anderson is slower than Parson is, but he can be the fit that Parsons was supposed to be for the Grizzlies. And with his length, he should be able to hold his own against opposing power forwards when he gets moved to the power forward spot.
Along with his size and versatility, Anderson also has an adept ability at his size to be able to handle the basketball. When he was headed to college, he was touted as a big man that could handle the basketball. And when he was there at UCLA, he actually was able to man the point guard position sometimes and he handled the basketball with ease as he initiated the offense. In the NBA, he has not really had the chance to run the offense as much, but he could get that opportunity to do so in Memphis. With him being able to handle the ball, he will take some pressure off Conley Jr. to have to score and handle the basketball for the team. Imagine Anderson initiating the offense while Conley works off the wing and off screens. His addition essentially makes the Grizzlies a more versatile offensive team as well because of his unique abilities for his size.
Anderson is a utility kit that can do a little bit of everything. And although is shooting from three-point range isn’t as good as you would like it, he could still hurt opposing teams from long distance. The addition of Anderson brings a winning player that can be a glue piece to a winning team. Now for Anderson, it will be interesting to see if he can live up to the pressure of his biggest contract to date. We shall see what happens when the season starts.