With the 21st pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Dallas Mavericks select Justin Anderson, guard, Virginia – words that Justin Anderson will never forget.
As a 21 year-old, the bright-eyed Anderson joined the Mavericks after completing his junior season at the University of Virginia. For Dallas, he was a young, 6-6, 230 pound athletic prospect who was expected to be one of the cornerstone pieces for the Mavs following the Dirk Nowitzki-led Era.
On Thursday afternoon, that all came to an unceremonious end when Anderson, along with center Andrew Bogut, and a 2017 protected first round pick were dealt to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for forward/center Nerlens Noel.
“It’s a tough situation,” Nowitzki said. “Justin’s well, well-liked around here. Good kid. Really good kid. He was sitting next to me, asking a thousand questions a day. I just told him, ‘Keep working hard.’ The sky’s the limit for him. He improved so much his first two years. He’s athletic, he’s worked on his shot. I think he’ll be fine, and that’s a system there where he can show it.”
In Dallas, Anderson showed flashes of his potential from time to time, but never quite got a legitimate chance to shine in Mavericks uniform. In two seasons, he started just 11 times. In his rookie season, Anderson averaged just 11.8 minutes and has averaged slightly more this season, playing 13.9 minutes per game. He is averaging 6.5 points and 2.9 rebounds in 51 games this season, but has played more than 15 minutes just 4 times in the last 22 games.
In October, an NBA scout gave this review of Anderson to Sports Illustrated:
“Justin Anderson is gonna be good. I wonder how long of a leash (coach Rick) Carlisle will have with him. Rick prefers to play two guards, two smaller guards who are good pick-and-roll players, and that’s not Justin . . . I actually think Justin Anderson is almost as good a player as Harrison Barnes. Maybe not quite as good as a scorer, but rebounding, shot-blocking, he’ll be a decent shooter this year. He’ll be a solid piece of their rotation.”
At 23 years-old, the future remains bright for the young, athletic swingman. He now joins a core group in Philadelphia that includes 22 year-old center Joel Embiid and 21 year-old center Jahlil Okafor.
“You are 1st class in every way JA,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban tweeted on Thursday night following Anderson’s tweet thanking the Mavs organization and fans.
“In Justin Anderson Philadelphia has acquired a high-class person and multiple position player who has made great strides over his first 2 years,” Rick Carlisle said. “We thank Justin for his hard work and commitment to the Dallas Mavericks culture and wish him the best.”
Quotes credit of Dallas Morning News, Sports Illustrated, ESPN.