Where do undervalued, flailing former first-round picks ride out to pasture? Sam Hinkie is seeing fit that it's Philadelphia. An injured, underweight Nerlens Noel. A discarded, enigmatic Royce White. And now, a role player on the wrong side of streaky -- James Anderson.
Coming out of Oklahoma State as a throwback to shooting guards of yore, Anderson was scooped up by the Spurs with the 20th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. And he just hasn't been good. Outplayed by Danny Green in San Antonio, a blip in Atlanta, and overshadowed by Chandler Parsons' handsomeness in Houston, James has bounced back and forth between the D-League and the show. He's a player that's only good at one thing, and when he's not doing that one thing, he's useless.
And he couldn't be any more perfect for these Sixers.
There's a very thin line between fringe guys who make it and fringe guys who don't. Martell Webster just got $22 million. Scotty Hopson is getting paid in cucumber sandwiches for the opportunity to get a Miami camp invite. Confidence plays a role in it. Circumstance means an open roster spot or Belgium. There is no better place than Philadelphia for James Anderson to cultivate his talents and carve out a role for himself in this league.
It's a shaky proposition for some to accept. Hey, here's your favorite team, watch these pretzels try to score against Indiana.
But it's why I'm looking forward to this season so much. Not the losing. Lord knows I love the losing, but that's not why the 2013-14 season will be our Graceland.
James Anderson is why. Watching James Anderson become the NBA's equivalent of a serviceable LOOGY. He's not unathletic. His defense isn't crippling. He used to get to the line a ton. He's got a gorgeous shot that just needs a bit more regular hoisting to get to a workable place. This season could give us 20 minutes per game of a catch-and-shoot 2-guard on an unguaranteed deal for the next two years.
Or he could never regain the confidence he had in the Big 12 and keep missing shots from the friendly confines of the bench. Maybe Tim Ohlbrecht is the real steal here. Maybe neither of them are.
This season will be about figuring that out. Taking these bargain bin guys for a test run. You buy enough raffle tickets for a nickel a pop, your odds start looking awful friendly. Nothing friendlier than cheap role players. Let's start with James Anderson.