Second year forward Justin Anderson continues to be one of the main topics surrounding training camp, this time bringing praise out of Dirk Nowitzki.
After being drafted in the first round of last years draft by the Dallas Mavericks, Justin Anderson came into a system where young players don’t get much playing time. After he found himself going back-and-forth from the D-League to the Mavericks at the start of the season, Anderson proved he was worthy of quality minutes as he was an integral part of the Mavs making the playoffs last season.
Now, the youngster has proved his worth and comes into his sophomore season looking to build on what he had.
Anderson appeared in just 55 games last season and averaged just over 11 minutes a game, two statistics that should drastically increase this coming season.
Ever since the Mavericks handed Harrison Barnes the max contract this past offseason, talk has surrounded the team about the possibility of a small ball lineup with Barnes at the four. One of the main factors surrounding the hype around this lineup is the fact that Barnes would pair up with Anderson on the wing.
But for Anderson to take that next step into a prominent role, he has to take the next step in his career. By the sound of things in camp, Anderson is getting praise from the most respected voice in the locker room.
After practice on Thursday, Dirk Nowitzki took time to speak with the media after wrapping up his last shooting drill. Nowitzki touched on numerous topics surrounding camp and the preseason, but specifically brought up Anderson’s name when talking about camp.
When Mark Followill asked Dirk If he has seen anything out of the preseason of the younger players stepping up and if its translatable to the regular season, Dirk brought up one name.
"“I think Justin as been really, really good and one of our best players in camp I think. He’s been shooting the three, been aggressive, he can drive, obviously he can finish above the rim. I think he took a huge step this summer.” -Nowitzki"
Nowitzki wasn’t even asked about Anderson and he brought him up as the first name that came to mind.
The Mavericks are naturally viewed out by the national media as an older team with veterans such as Nowitzki, Deron Williams, and Andrew Bogut. But they are slowly starting to put together a younger core headlined by Justin Anderson.
If Anderson can show that he can put the ball on the court and score on a consistent basis, then we could see a breakout season for the sophomore. He’s obviously making a big impression in camp so far, so here’s to him translating that to the regular season and helping the Mavs take a step up in the Western Conference standings.