Carving a Niche: James Anderson's Progression for the Sixers

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

While the Sixers have been trapped on a 17-game losing streak, James Anderson has quietly played solid basketball since the Feb. 20 trade deadline.

Trading Evan Turner rightly sparked a conversation debating whether or not the Sixers would be able win another game this season. Brett Brown's crew has played mostly horrible basketball en route to an 0-8 post-deadline record, but not everything is awful. James Anderson has taken a bigger role in the offense in Turner's absence.

Since the deadline, JA is averaging 12.3 points on a few more shots, but most importantly, he's committing to his outside shot more -- at least 2 threes in eight of us his last ten. The numbers aren't excellent (his TS% is a solid if unspectacular 54.1%, good for second on the team behind Hollis Thompson), but he's shown enough to be considered for this team's future.

Anderson certainly hasn't played his way into being a potential starting shooting guard in this league, but if he can continue to develop from the outside, he could definitely grow into a nice off-ball bench option, similar to Danny Green's role in San Antonio. Even further, with the Sixers clearly looking to make another move or two prior to or during the 2014 NBA Draft to get a third, or even fourth, first-round pick, Anderson's progress could turn him into a trade sweetener in a package with Thaddeus Young.

In order to truly carve that niche in the NBA, Anderson has to get his outside shot up to 38%. At 32% on the season, he has room.

Overall, JA has done a pretty decent job this season and has been as advertised since we first saw him in a Sixers uniform: a reasonably athletic two-guard with the potential to be an effective shooter off the bench.

Anyone in his position would take the team's remaining 19 games as an opportunity to keep performing. Anderson's gotta keep showing he's worth keeping around.

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