The Washington Wizards are quickly approaching one of the most important and unpredictable summers in the history of their franchise. The team will have plenty of money to spend on talent and lots of roster spots that need to be filled,even once you factor in the max deal they'll likely offer Bradley Beal to keep him in Washington.
To help guide the process (and give us something to talk about because the Wizards don't have a draft pick this summer) we've created a list ranking the Top 30 players available, based strictly on their talent and how they would help the Wizards.
Previously, we took a look at Allen Crabbe. Now we continue our series with a look at the 8th ranked player on our list: Ryan Anderson.
With only six players currently signed to the roster going into next season, the Wizards have tons of room for improvement and have plenty of space to do it. But with the ultra-inflated salary cap being a factor this offseason, the team will need to make sure their money is spent wisely.
A big spot they're going to need to fill is power forward. Most of their minutes in that spot came from Jared Dudley last season. He was serviceable, but he couldn't be counted on to defend larger players and his production fell off when he didn't play with John Wall.
Markieff Morris slid into that spot well after the team acquired him at the trade deadline, and the Wizards' defense improved. He's just 26 and still has a lot of room to grow, but Morris doesn't stretch the floor with a consistent three-point shot and still has to show he can play consistent minutes as a starter with Washington.
Anderson has that consistent three point shot, but is there anything else he has to offer? Let's dig in.
Offensively, Anderson's outside shot has always been money. He's a quick, slithery forward that can shift the floor balance with a guard on the perimeter. He's not great off the dribble, but Anderson is a danger setting screens and can also be screened off of the ball and be a legitimate threat shooting from most areas on the perimeter.
Having a perimeter big who can fire away like Anderson can is such a game changer on the offensive end. When he's able to play off of others as a decoy and ease into open looks, he can make the defense pay. Let's take a look.
The Wizards ran this action consistently last year where a shooter would screen for Marcin Gortat who would fly into a screen and roll with John Wall. Sometimes it was Wall's backcourt partner, whether it be Bradley Beal, Gary Neal or Garrett Temple, screening Gortat's man off. Jared Dudley, in the role of small-ball power forward, did it as well.
But Anderson, essentially a 6-10 shooting guard playing as a power forward, changes so many things. He's a bigger and more effective screener. In the play above, Marc Gasol, who traditionally hangs back on the pick and roll, plants his feet in the lane to prepare for Davis' dive.
But because of Anderson's screen, Matt Barnes is forced to switch onto Davis with Gasol out of the play. He has to hedge out to Holiday to prevent the easy pass and allow Mike Conley to get back into the play, but by then Anderson has slipped to the three point line.
With solid playmakers like Holiday and Evans, Anderson was best used on offense as a screener and a roll man flying out to the three point line. Anderson scored 1.07 points per possession on these plays and would be extremely effective alongside Wall and Gortat.
But Anderson does have his weaknesses offensively. As solid as he is offensively on the outside, his inability to finish inside waters his game down. Anderson only shot 48 percent around the rim this season despite taking 30 percent of his overall shots from that range.
Anderson is also not much of a playmaker. He isn't the best ball-handler, so when he has to put the ball on the floor and can't finish at the rim, it's difficult to ask him to make plays for others as well. Anderson averaged just 1.1 assists to 1.4 turnovers.
That isn't an awful ratio for a big man, but Anderson is going to meet the defense at the three point line more often than not. He has to be able to make another play and he hasn't shown he is capable of doing so up to this point in his career.
There probably isn't much to say here about Anderson because he doesn't do very much at all. He's never been a positive on the defensive end on any stop he has been at and that's why it is hard for him to find consistent starter minutes.
Anderson played a shade over 30 minutes per game last season and was second on the team behind Anthony Davis in minutes played, but there were many situations where he couldn't finish games because of his inability to positively contribute on the defensive end.
When Anderson was on the floor, according to NBA Wowy's excellent stats tool, he allowed 1.08 points per possession. When Anthony Davis was off of the floor, that increased to 1.10 points per possession. Davis isn't an all-world defender at this point, but he's getting there. And he's not far off from Marcin Gortat at this point.
We don't know how the Wizards backup big rotation will be at this point, but Anderson would likely log heavy minutes with someone else at center. If the Wizards wanted to mitigate whatever damage would be done with Anderson in the lineup defensively, they'd have to find another option to perfectly complement him and clean up at the rim.
Is he worth it?
Whether Anderson is worth a look depends on what price you're willing to pay for him. Both Bismack Biyombo and Marvin Williams are expected to get, at least, around $15 million per year this offseason. So we'll start in that ballpark for Anderson.
At that price, I'd take a pass on Anderson. For that money, even with the inflated salary cap, you want a player who can be a solid starter for you and fill roles on both ends. Anderson likely isn't starting over Morris because of his inability to defend and his offensive game isn't versatile enough to warrant that type of pay.
Sure, he helps with his shooting. But the prototypical stretch four isn't just someone who can shoot threes. Morris is a much better option because of his ability to put the ball on the floor, play inside, defend and move the ball. Anderson can't do any of those things on the same level.
If it were up to me, I'd take a pass. But the Wizards should definitely take a look at see what's there.