The Spurs are an organization with the infrastructure and patience to develop players. Kawhi Leonard is exhibit A, and they are paying him max money now after bringing him along.
Then there is Kyle Anderson.
The 30th pick a year ago, a guy who spent time in the D-League and got in just 33 games in his rookie season, was named the NBA Las Vegas Summer League MVP on Sunday by a vote of the media.
Anderson has averaged 22 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.3 steals in leading The Spurs to a 5-1 record and the Summer League Championship Game (played Monday at 9 .m. Eastern against the Suns).
“He’s put in a ton of work…” Spurs coach Becky Hammon said, naming a series of other Spurs shooting and training staff he had spent time with. “Over the summer I’ve seen him in the gym a lot. He knows our system the best. He knows those conversations coaches have had with him and what’s expected of him and he’s absolutely stepped up.”
What was expected of him was to step up and be a leader on this Summer League team.
“I think he’s great,” Hammon said of his leadership skills after a recent close Spurs win. “The last defensive possession he’s the one who rallied everyone on the court, he’s the one who’s speaking, he’s the one being more demonstrative in a leadership role — and that’s really what we want to see from him in this setting. It was nice to see him take ownership of the situation.”
With a veteran team ready to win now, Anderson is going to need this MVP level of play just to crack the rotation. He could and should get some minutes behind Kawhi Leonard, but he’s going to need to play well to keep those minutes. At least in Las Vegas, he looks like he can.
Here is the entire list of the Las Vegas All-NBA Summer League teams:
All-NBA Summer League First Team
Kyle Anderson (San Antonio)
Seth Curry (New Orleans)
Doug McDermott (Chicago)
Norman Powell (Toronto)
T.J. Warren (Phoenix)
All-NBA Summer League Second Team
Larry Drew II (New Orleans)
Emmanuel Mudiay (Denver)
Dwight Powell (Dallas)
Noah Vonleh (Portland)
Alan Williams (Houston)