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A Philadelphia 76ers blog, hosted by Christopher A. Vito

Monday, November 11, 2013

Gregg Popovich: James Anderson 'is pretty good at a lot of areas,' not really good in one

Part of James Anderson’s matriculation into the 76ers has been adjustment. Namely, evolving into a shooting guard who doesn’t shoot all that much.

Anderson has attempted only 46 shots through the Sixers’ first seven games, an average of 6.5 shots per game. And while he’s hitting at a 41-percent clip, Anderson has become more of a defense-first option for coach Brett Brown.

That doesn’t come as a surprise to Anderson’s former coach.

“(Anderson) is pretty good at a lot of areas. Hopefully, at some point, he’ll get really good at something,” said Gregg Popovich, whose San Antonio team was in town for Monday’s date with the Sixers. “He does many different things, and this is a chance for him to gain some confidence and find his way. He really enjoys Brett and has a relationship with him. Brett is a great confidence-builder. He knows how to make people feel like the greatest player that ever lived at that position, so he’ll be good for someone like James Anderson, who needs that confidence.”

Anderson, who played for the Spurs for two seasons, from 2010-12, is averaging 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds in 33.4 minutes per game, a total that demonstrates his penchant for putting the ball in teammates’ hands. He’s shooting 41 percent overall (19-for-46) and 32 percent from 3-point range (8-for-25).

There’s a chance Anderson, the 20th pick in the 2010 draft, would’ve latched on with San Antonio if not for depth on Popovich’s roster.

“The only reason he didn’t stick was we didn’t have space. We had bodies,” Popovich said. “There was no place else to put him. What I remember about his most is what you’ve seen – coaches love him. He does whatever you ask him to do.”

And Anderson is OK with that.

“It’s been a big challenge for me, going out and trying to defend the top shooting guards in the league,” he said following the Sixers’ shootaround Monday. “I’ve been aggressive at the other end, too. I’m just doing anything I can to help this team.”

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