Apr 16, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic power forward Ryan Anderson (33) dunks the ball during the third quarter at Amway Center. Orlando defeated Philadelphia 113-100. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE
We all really loved the idea of adding Ryan Anderson to the Sacramento Kings as a power forward in free agency ... before the Sacramento Kings were able to acquire Manna From Heaven, Thomas Robinson. With DeMarcus Cousins and Robinson in place in the frontcourt, and Jason Thompson likely to be affordable, Anderson just doesn't seem to fit. He's a power forward only. Not a center. Not a small forward. A power forward, just like Robinson.
Does that mean the Kings should write him off? Is the imperfection of the fit such that it's not worth it as some attainable price?
Of course, that price matters. Anderson should probably get something toward $40 million over four years, maybe more. Is that worth it for someone who could be relegated to back-up status quite quickly, if Robinson is amazing early on as we think he'll be?
No one thinks Anderson can play small forward (except maybe Geoff Petrie). But can a frontcourt featuring Cousins, Robinson and Anderson get everyone enough time? Can the line-ups be mixed and matched enough to put together a good two-way team? The Kings are desperate to make the playoffs. If Robinson is solid as a rookie, they'd have one of the best big man rotations in the league.
You have 96 minutes between the positions, leaving more than 30 for each. Even last season, in an awesome season, Cousins only averaged 30.5 minutes per game. Anderson only played 32. In the past five seasons, only one big man -- Blake Griffin -- has played more than 32 minutes per game as a rookie. (Griffin, who some believe to be Robinson's tightest comparison, played 38.) You can fit them all in just at power forward and center, though it requires Robinson or Anderson to move up a spot to center for up to about 20 minutes while Cousins sits. (Anderson has played limited minutes at center over the past two seasons. The numbers are OK. More likely, Robinson would be guarding centers. You also have Chuck Hayes available to step in and guard centers.)
Adding Anderson would give Keith Smart the opportunity to mix and match line-ups. Have Tyreke Evans in at small forward? Use Anderson to open up the floor. Starting Robinson and Cousins? Make sure Marcus Thornton or Jimmer Fredette is out there to stretch it out. In particular, I think Thornton (no problem getting shots off) and Robinson (defensive rebounder extraordinaire) will be a good two-man unit, and Tyreke-Anderson would be PROBLEMS for opponents.
He's the bottom line on an Anderson acquisition, in the unlikely event it comes to pass: he's a good player. The Kings need those, and desperately. They more desperately need a good small forward than a power forward, but a good power forward is not going to hurt so long as it doesn't prevent the acquisition of a good small forward, which it shall not because there are apparently no good small forwards to acquire. The end.
(Yes, I am terrified that this happens and Petrie embarks on another conversion project. Say, what's Quincy Douby doing these days?)