With the surprising addition of Kyle Anderson to the Grizzlies, the team is firmly committing to Grit and Grind. You can read all about Anderson himself in various articles written here, but what impact is he going to have on the rest of the team? Kyle’s style of play will affect most of the team in some way, but these three players stand to reap the rewards the most.
Last season, after the Mike Conley injury, Dillon Brooks was often tasked with guarding the best player on the other team. Kevin Durant, James Harden, LeBron James, and so on. While he wasn’t an elite defender Dillon had no problem with jumping in and admirably taking on these top talents.
Kyle’s presence on the court gives another option as the primary and secondary defender, which means Dillon can go elsewhere on the court. Last season, after Dillon proved himself to be an above average defender, teams would force the Grizzlies to switch through screens and get Dillon off the primary offensive option. Now, if Anderson and Brooks are on the court together, teams will be less inclined to force Dillon off the ball.
Offensively, Dillon cuts well, and Kyle will find him with a well-times pass. Kyle will help take off some of the pressure on Dillon to score as he’s an above average finisher at the rim. Not elite by any standards, but average to above average is better than what the Grizzlies have gotten at times from their starters.
A lot of the benefits for Chandler Parsons are a big maybe. We still don’t know for sure where Chandler is in his recovery, which determines a lot towards how the Grizzlies will set their rotation. In this scenario, I’m envisioning a starting five of Conley, Anderson, Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Marc Gasol. Parsons should be starting the season as the 6th or 7th option until we know for sure what his physical limitations are.
At peak Chandler Parsons, he is clearly a better shooter. But when it comes to physical size, Anderson is comparable. Ultimately, Anderson’s value for Chandler is that it gives them a physical wing in the starting five, and keeps Chandler on the bench. This may sound negative to some, but being on the bench is good for Chandler. Parsons has great value in being a leader for the team coming off the bench. Chandler is one of the players that’s also difficult exactly to predict what crossover he and Anderson will have, since the two may not see the floor much at the same time, but there could be benefits to having both on the court.
On the floor together, the two can create some issues for offenses. Both have unique size and wingspan, which will make passing difficult on the perimeter. Despite all of his physical limitations, Chandler still has a pretty high basketball IQ. Having multiple players on the court that are smart about basketball is NEVER a bad idea.
Much like with Dillon Brooks, the biggest benefit for Mike will be Kyle’s defense ability. Mike, when healthy, often had the more difficult assignments defensively. Mike can ease back into his role on defense without having to worry about guarding someone that will possibly be looking to take advantage of a “weakened” Mike Conley. The less taxing defensive play Mike has to go through, the better. By no means am I saying Conley is frail or fragile, but the team needs to do what it can to reduce the defensive loads on the more talented defenders, to keep everyone healthy.
On the other side of the ball, Anderson’s high basketball IQ comes into play again. Kyle makes smart passes, understands defenses, and knows where to be on the court. He’s not a very prolific shooter yet, but he could become a great option to help spread the floor offensively. Mike will be able to depend on Kyle to be where he needs him to be as the floor general, and will know that Kyle will be able to get him the ball in the right situations as well.