In some ways, James Anderson is in an NBA dream — part of a great organization playing championship-level basketball, competing on one of only four teams remaining in the playoffs.
But in other ways, Anderson is stuck in a professional hooper's nightmare — the 11th man in a nine-man rotation, good enough to be yelled at by Gregg Popovich but inconsistent enough to rarely receive meaningful minutes.
And that's why, when all eyes are fixed on the compelling San Antonio-Oklahoma City Western Conference Finals, Anderson is much like the players on the other 26 NBA rosters, reduced to an interested spectator, hoping to one day become a key component of such a pivotal series.
The only difference is Anderson has a courtside ticket and nice Spurs warm-up.
“I'm not frustrated,” Anderson said at a recent shootaround. “I'm just being patient, and I know my time will come. I'm still working. It's not my time right now, so I'm just doing my work and supporting the team.”
When asked, he's quick to admit that things haven't panned out as expected.
After averaging 22.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals during an impressive junior season, leading Oklahoma State to the NCAA Tournament and winning Big 12 Player of the Year, Anderson decided to skip his senior year and enter the draft.
Seemed like the obvious choice. He was an athletic 6-foot-6 shooting guard toying with Division I defenses and appearing early on most mock drafts.
A pre-draft hamstring injury set him back, but a slight slip to the Spurs at 20th overall wasn't exactly an unfortunate scenario. Guaranteed money and an organization known for developing players.