Sacramento Kings: Explaining the Signing of James Anderson


Free agency is an exciting time for fans of any team–you get to find out what new impact players will be joining your favorite team. I was just like most of you too; eagerly anticipating the start of the free agency negotiating period and awaiting the first flashy free agent agreement for the Sacramento Kings.

Then I saw this tweet from Marc J . Spears announcing the Kings first free agency addition on July 2nd: James Anderson.

I’m sure we all felt the same way the moment we realized that announcement didn’t end with the name Wesley Matthews. Not only did the Kings sign a dude I vaguely remember from a couple of years ago, but they signed him so fast it was like they were camping out on his doorstep like he was the opening night of a Star Wars movie.

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When Vlade Divac, in a roundabout way, declared he was done making moves this offseason and I began to look at all of the moves the Kings have made this offseason, the signing of Anderson still stuck out like a sore thumb.  By signing him when they did, it showed that they wanted him. Glancing at his stats from his 2013/14 season with the Sixers, nothing jumps off the page at you.


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If this was like the Quincy Acy signing, in which I don’t think a glaring need was addressed but they added a solid defensive presence and a guy that was well-liked during his previous stint in Sac, I probably would not have looked any deeper into this signing. However, as Anderson has only proven to be an average defender and not a consistent 3-point threat, this just didn’t make sense to me.

I came across something interesting as I was trying to find a player comparison for Anderson’s shooting. In 13/14 Anderson showed he can finish at a high rate close to the basket for a shooting guard. In fact, in 13/14 Jae Crowder was the only player shorter than 6’7″ that played more than 55 games besides Anderson that converted at least 58% of his attempts less than 5 feet from the basket and at least 54% between 5 and 9 feet from the basket. In 14/15, only Wesley Matthews achieved this.

Anderson’s value on this King’s team may lie in his ability to get to and convert at the basket. He has been a streaky 3-point shooter during his time in the NBA but if he can continue his success close to the basket, he can be a valuable reserve off the bench against teams that struggle stopping dribble penetration which is a staple of a George Karl offense.

Will James Anderson be in the running for Sixth Man of the Year? Almost certainly not, but he has the potential to add value to this roster which is all you can really ask for from a guy on a minimum-salary deal.

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