With the companion piece on DeMarcus Nelson and his chances with the Warriors
The Newark Star-Ledger asked Vince Carter about the standouts in the early days of New Jersey training camp. Oak Ridge High product Ryan Anderson was the first name out of Carter's mouth: "His development, from watching him in the summer league to now, has been just tremendous."
Yep, that'll work for a good start to a career.
Vincesanity doesn't have the cache' of old, but he's still the biggest name on the Nets and if he draws a straight line between a No. 21 pick and immediately impressive, it's worthwhile. Anderson already had the confidence boost of going relatively high in the first round, after sweating out dropping into the second and away from guaranteed money, and now the top returning scorer is lining up behind him.
Of actual, tangible importance, Anderson has an immediate chance at a meaningful role.
Part of it is that everyone does. The Nets are sorting through a new roster and avoiding serious financial commitments in a fiscal holding pattern to save cap space for a run at LeBron James in summer 2010. If anything, they'll be moving salaries out over time, and Anderson will be a candidate there as well because, again, everyone in the Meadowlands is fair game for everything with the likely exception of point guard Devin Harris.
And part of it is that Anderson is NBA-ready in so many ways that coaches love. Good guy who works hard and doesn't cause distractions. Advanced basketball IQ. Skilled passer with an unselfish mindset. Able to score inside and from the perimeter during two seasons at Cal.
If Anderson shoots well -- history indicates he will, but there's no way to know for sure in this transition time of better, stronger, quicker defenders -- he plays. If he defends at all, the real question with a lack of quickness to stay with small forwards and a lack of strength to slam dance with power forwards, he plays a lot and potentially turns into a steal.
The difficulty will be coaches sifting minutes for a team expected to have six important players with three seasons or less of experience: Anderson, Josh Boone, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Brook Lopez, Sean Williams and Yi Jianlian. Maurice Ager might make it seven.
Compounding the problem of developing young players, the bulk of that group will be on the frontline. Anderson will get time at power forward, but so will Boone, Williams, Yi and possibly Stromile Swift. Anderson will also get looks at small forward, but so will Douglas-Roberts, Jarvis Hayes, Bobby Simmons, Eduardo Najera and maybe Trenton Hassell.
That's a crowded house under any circumstances but especially for a rookie trying to push through the pack. Anderson has had a good start, though, and that counts for something in an uncertain world for a No. 21 pick and the entire Nets roster.