Kyle Anderson signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves on the first day of free agency. The two sides agreed to a two-year contract worth $18 million, or $9 million per season. This contract keeps him in Minneapolis through the 2023-2024 season.
Kyle Anderson Signs With the Minnesota Timberwolves
Anderson was originally drafted in the first round with the 30th overall of the 2014 NBA draft by the San Antonio Spurs. He was one of the Spurs’ vaunted selections late in the first round, and has far exceeded the career expectations for someone picked last in the first round. Anderson was never able to improve his outside shot by working with Spurs assistant Chip Engelland, who most famously helped improve Kawhi Leonard’s jumper. Regardless, Anderson’s passing and defensive versatility made him a valued part of the Spurs’ bench lineups.
Anderson has played for the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies during his NBA career. He has averaged 6.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game for his career. Last season he scored 7.6 points and 5.3 rebounds for the Memphis Grizzlies last season. Anderson’s minutes were reduced from 27.3 to 21.5 per game as Jaren Jackson Jr. returned to health and Brandon Clarke had a bounce-back season.
Despite the reduction in minutes, Anderson was key to Memphis’ success last season, and especially in the playoffs. After Ja Morant reinjured his knee and missed the final three games of the Grizzlies series for the Warriors, Anderson took on an increased ball-handling and scoring role. He peaked in game four by contributing 17 points and 8 rebounds in the three-point loss and repeatedly got buckets in the post against Jordan Poole.
What this Means for the Future
Anderson turns 29 in September, and is likely just reaching the tail-end of his prime. The player nicknamed “Slo-Mo” has never relied on speed or athleticism, however, and should remain effective for years. His length and intelligence will keep him a plus defender. He should continue to average over a steal per game and just under a block per game, as he has the past five seasons.
Much of the conversation surrounding Anderson centers around his struggles shooting from outside. He shot just 33% from three last season, which matches his career average. It’s easy to overlook that Anderson is a plus in every other aspect of basketball. He can operate as a backup point guard with his passing and ball-handling, then bully smaller defenders in the post. He can set screens, rebounds, and hold up defensively against most non-centers. Anderson is a winning wing player, and his game would be at home on any of the teams that just made the Conference Finals. He’s an underrated pickup who will make a big impact next season.