Justin Anderson brings energy, defense to young Sixers team
Third-year player Justin Anderson clearly knows his role with the Philadelphia 76ers and comes off the bench bringing plenty of energy.
The 6-foot-6, 230-pound shooting guard/small forward gives the Sixers what they need, which is good defense, rebounding, shooting and the ability to run the floor.
This season, he is averaging 6.2 points and 2.4 rebounds per game, along with shooting 44.3 percent from the field and an outstanding 34.9 percent from three-point range.
“It’s always one of the things I’ve learned from my coaches in the past,” Anderson said.
“Humility is knowing who you are and doing what you do best to help the team win. I just want to play winning basketball. For me, that’s just being who I am, bringing energy, athleticism, bringing my passion and my competitiveness and bringing it every day whether it’s in practice or whether it’s in the games. I just want to help our team win. That’s the biggest thing for me.”
The Sixers, who have a record of 28-25, are winning these days. They’re in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
Anderson’s efforts have helped the Sixers play winning basketball this season. He is one of the Sixers’ key contributors, and this is just his third NBA season.
Philadelphia acquired Anderson last season in a trade from the Dallas Mavericks for embattled big man Nerlens Noel.
In 2015, Anderson was a first-round pick out of the University of Virginia. Anderson has been following the Cavaliers’ success closely this season. Virginia (23-2) is ranked No. 1 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll.
“Those guys are humble,” Anderson said. “They just play the right way. They just play winning basketball. The game is really the game. [Virginia head coach Tony Bennett] has those guys playing the right way. I’m very happy for him.”
Virginia does all the basic things, which have led them to an outstanding season.
“We teach not turning the ball over,” he said. “We teach getting good shots. We teach playing tough, hard-nose defense. I think this team is really special. It’s a team that can take us really far. Hopefully, we can continue to to roll and those guys can keep playing the right way and we’ll be fine.”
The Sixers will host the Miami Heat on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the final game before the NBA All-Star break. The Sixers won’t return to action until Feb. 22 at Chicago.
Right now, the Sixers and the Virginia Cavaliers are playing some great basketball.