DALLAS – After what he was able to accomplish against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night, Justin Anderson is now on the NBA radar.
That means teams will start game-planning for the Dallas Mavericks rookie, will start getting more physical with him, and will start doing all those nuances to mentally get in his head and get him off his game.
"Look, this is where it gets more challenging because the next opponent looks at the film and then they feature you as part of the film,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said after Friday morning’s shootaround at American Airlines Center. "They’re going to pay more attention to him than the Clippers probably did, and he’s going to have to do the same things.
"Keep it simple, go hard and play within the system.’’
Anderson kept it simple, went hard and tallied seven points in just 10 minutes while making all three of his field goal attempts during the Mavs’ 118-108 win over the Clippers. He also is hoping for more of the same Friday night at 7:30 when the Mavs (4-4) entertain the Los Angeles Lakers at AAC.
"This is basketball, so you don’t want to get too hung up on the last game,’’ Anderson said. "That’s the beauty of the NBA versus college is you can’t dwell on the last game.
"There’s always the next game coming up probably in a day or two after….and in that case its two days later. You’ve got to go out there and compete, do the same preparation and just lock in and prepare yourself for a different team.’’
Anderson was the Mavs’ first-round pick – the No. 21st overall selection – in this past June’s NBA Draft. Like most rookies of his ilk, the 6-6 swingman has taken some tiny baby steps while making the gigantic transition from college to the NBA.
In the first three games Anderson played in he was just one of four from the field with two points and one rebound. But in the last two games he played in he is a perfect 7-of-7 from the field with 18 points and four rebounds.
"It’s been nothing but positive – like a seamless transition – in a sense of, like I said, you have a game and no matter what happens, you have another one coming right up,’’ Anderson said. "There are so many different opportunities you get and you’ve got to stay even keel.
"You can’t get too high, you can’t get too low. You’ve just got to stay with that hungry, hard-working effort mentality and just let your instincts take over.’’
Anderson’s instincts and athleticism can be a recipe for success for the Mavs, who are playing their third game in four days when they take on the Lakers on Friday night.
"He’s strong and energetic, and we need strong, combative guys,’’ Carlisle said. "And we’re obviously in a situation where we need to get the team younger, so he’s a really good prospect and this is the reason we drafted him.
"We feel like he can help us right away. And he has some experience now.’’
Despite his limited experience on the NBA level, Anderson is wise enough to know that not many are expecting the Mavs to do much as far as the playoffs are concerned. But that has fueled a different type of energy which the Mavs unleashed on the Clippers.
"We’re hungry, the young guys are hungry, the vets are hungry, guys want to get back and prove a lot of people wrong,’’ Anderson said. "A lot of people are kind of going against us and kind of counting us out a little bit, so we’ve got a chip on our shoulders for sure and the young guys coming in we want to be good.
"We want to be really good in this league. We’re just doing the little things to get better every day, and like I said, try to help this team win more and more every day.’’
Dwain Price can be heard every Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. on dfwiradio.com