James Anderson, Danny Green and stability

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I was in Toronto this past weekend for the Blogs With Balls conference (that might be the dorkiest sentence I’ve typed on this site). One of the nights I was there, I had a conversation with Tom Haberstroh of Heat Index about the prospects of Josh Harrellson, AKA Jorts, making the Heat’s roster (these are obviously the conversations you have at sports media conferences). I said for sure Harrellson would make the team because he’s a lot better than Dexter Pittman. Tom agreed with me, but countered with the fact that Pittman has a guaranteed contract.

That’s the business of today’s NBA. Players with guaranteed deals get first dibs when it comes to playing time and especially roster spots (hence the guarantee). When it comes to playing time, this is a result of coaches feeling pressure from front offices to play those guys, because front offices don’t want to admit they made a mistake by drafting or signing certain players.

In a very roundabout way, this got me thinking back to the Danny Green / James Anderson dynamic and how lucky Spurs fans are to enjoy such a stable coach, GM and owner relationship. The Spurs used the 20th pick in the draft on James Anderson, the highest pick they had made since drafting Tim Duncan. For a team that essentially pulled Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili from thin air, that was a big deal.

Anderson seemed to have solidified a spot in the rotation early in his career until he broke a bone in his foot seven games into his rookie year. He never was able to get a grasp on solid playing time after that. Danny Green was a big reason why Anderson never got that playing time and, thus, is no longer with the Spurs. There was a lot of talking in training camp last season how good Anderson looked and that he was primed for a big season, but instead it was Green that made the jump.

In most franchises in the NBA, that doesn’t happen. Anderson plays solid minutes come hell or high water. But because of the stability the Spurs enjoy and how much those who make the decisions are on the same page, Danny Green gets his chance to earn his way into the NBA. Peter Holt trusts Coach Pop to play whichever team Pop deems best and Pop trusts RC to bring in players who fit the system.

It doesn’t always work out. But luckily for the Spurs, those outside influences that limit and undermine other teams don’t play as big of a role in San Antonio.

  • Mark

    It was Danny playing well, but it was mostly the often catastrophic fifth metatarsal fracture that led to James’s exile. Not very many players come all the way back from that. Roddy Beaubois has never been CLOSE to the dynamic player he was before his f/m/f. The Spurs are probably in the top 1/4 of franchises when it comes to medical issues, and they were probably perfectly aware that if he didn’t produce quickly, it would be years until he did, or maybe even never.

  • Tim in Surrey

    Is that the Walton foot injury?

  • aespurs

    in all honesty it was confidence that propelled danny over james IMO. last year during the lockout, what did anderson do? he went to vegas to play “scrimmages”. yeah you can call it a league if you want but it was a bunch of guys just getting scrimmage time to get in shape. what did danny do? he went and played in russia. maybe the competition wasnt as great, but it was the perfect environment to grown in. he was allowed the freedom to grow and take risks because 1) the coaches there wanted him to grow and 2) it wasnt the nba, it was another league that didnt matter as much. the difference though was that he could take the competition seriously and play every game like it was a real game, and on top of that he was also getting the best out of the guys he was playing, not just half ass scrimmaging. thats why i think danny ultimately won out. it was the confidence he got from playing in an actual league and taking the right step to grow how he needed to

  • STIJL

    It was a devastating injury to a hopeful talent. I feel sorry for talented athletes that suffer such would be career ending injuries. Remember, it just wasn’t one foot, it was both feet suffering from injury in two seasons. James looked very accommodating to a bright future his rookie season until his injuries plagued his development. Reminded me of Willie Anderson back in the day. A very gifted athlete who succumbed to career ending injury. For that matter you could include Johnny Moore and his career ending disability or Sean Elliott and his kidney malfunction. Again, feel sorry for players who have talent but are cut short due to physical problems that may arise.

    It just seems the Spurs are plagued by such circumstances more so than other teams. Yet they persevere and remain relevant year after year. I pray for the best for Anderson or any other athlete regardless of sport that may have to endure such setbacks.

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  • Graham

    just be glad we aren’t blazers fans…

  • Koperboy

    I’m sorry to see geography is still neglected in USA. When will you learn there is more than just five countries in the world, and that Europe is not a country??

    Danny Green played in Slovenia. And he had much better stats as a Spur after the lockout than as a member of Union Olimpija in Slovenian 1st league, which is nowhere near the quality of NBA. Green was mostly disinterested and contributed to our team much less than we anticipated. Every once in a while he had great games, but he was very incosistent. It seemed like he didn’t want to be here and signed for Olimpija only because someone else told him to do so.

  • STIJL

    Yep. They too have had more than a fair share of injury history with their players.

  • STIJL

    We may never known for sure but I think a healthy (non-injured) James Anderson had more potential than Danny Green while also believing that it was Anderson’s injury (or lack of being able to recoup fully from it) that helped in the decision to even give Green a chance on the team.

  • not koperboy

    not all Americans are that bad with geography, try not to be so hostile.

  • Leben

    “I was in Toronto this past weekend for the Blogs With Balls conference (that might be the dorkiest sentence I’ve typed on this site).”
    And the dirtiest…

  • Leben
  • Spurs Fan in VA

    Koperboy – While you’re on an education tirade, let’s discuss grammar. There ARE more than just five countries. Next time you want to be hostile, just hold up a mirror.

  • Koperboy

    When you will speak any foreign language as good as I speak English (and it’s not even good – it’s passable), we can discuss grammar. Ok? Btw, if my post was hostile, you should check other posts in any US forums…you will probably think they are super-hostile.

  • Koperboy

    As I already said to Spurs Fan…hostile? Where are any names calling or anything similar I see in tons of posts by US people? But those are not hostile, are they? They are posted by someone living in same country as you do, so it’s alright! But when a non-US citizen makes an honest critique, suddenly his post is so hostile.

    And no, not all Americans are that bad with geography. Some even know Paris is not a country.

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