Glue Guy Alan Anderson’s Already A Clipper Favorite
LOS ANGELES – Stroll into the locker room before a game, and you might not notice him. You probably won’t hear him, either, even as he’s singing a Jay-Z, Jadakiss or Nas song to himself, no louder for anyone more than a few feet from him to notice.
But leave that space, less than an hour later, and he’s the one guiding pregame routines to get the Clippers hyped. He’s the one helping form handshakes for every player on the team, endearing himself to everyone on the roster. He’s the one leading chants, and he’s the first one to celebrate when someone on the court does something positive, particularly when someone drills a shot behind the arc.
It’s all part of what makes Alan Anderson, in head coach Doc Rivers’ words, the “best teammate in the world,” and why he’s generally just someone everyone wants around.
“He’s amazing,” Rivers said. “Whether he plays or not, he’s the first guy to someone. He recognizes when a guy is out on the floor, and if he’s struggling mentally, he goes to him.”
He also doesn’t mislead or sugar coat.
Rivers said the way he’s able to tell the brutally honest truth in a way that teammates still receive it reminds him of Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, who served as an assistant for Rivers in L.A. and Boston and played briefly for Rivers in Orlando.
“I think that’s a gift,” Rivers said.
It’s a gift that hasn’t changed throughout a winding road to, from and back to the NBA for Anderson, who’s done it all since going to the then-Charlotte Bobcats in 2005 before stints in the NBA Development League and internationally.
It didn’t change when he returned to the NBA, either, making stops with Toronto, Brooklyn and Washington since 2011, before joining the Clippers this summer.
“I’ve seen a lot of guys in different situations, but with me, I’ve always been an energetic guy, whether I’m playing or not,” Anderson said. “That’s just me, my personality.”
Immediately, that rubbed off on his new teammates, who affectionately refer to him as “Double-A.”
“Double-A brings a spirit,” said Chris Paul. “Like we keep talking about it, having the right spirit, the right energy every night – Double-A is one of those glue guys that every team needs, and he’s been a big part of our team. As you can see, every night he’s the one that’s sort of rallying guys.”
And, again, that’s regardless of playing time.
When healthy, Anderson has the skills to be a difference-maker on the court, as he showed during the 2012-13 season in Toronto, when he averaged 10.7 points per game, including a 35-point night against New York in March of that season.
Anderson played in 65 games that year and in at least 74 games in each of his next two seasons in Brooklyn. Then came last year’s trying season in Washington, with ankle issues limiting him to 13 games.
He hasn’t been on the court much this year, yet, as the 34-year-old forward attempts to work himself back to full strength, a process Rivers said at the beginning of the year could take some time. But he’s slowly getting there, getting five minutes of action in the Clippers’ win in Cleveland, which marked his second game played this season.
“Just making progress as each day and week goes along,” Anderson said in Brooklyn during the Clippers’ six-game trip.
He could sulk. He could complain he’s only played 14 minutes this year. He could be a crotchety teammate.
But that’s never been Anderson’s shtick, which is why his teammates aren’t surprised about the kind of person they brought to their group this summer. From the start of training camp, they knew immediately the type of addition Anderson would be.
“One of the best teammates I’ve ever had,” said DeAndre Jordan. “He’s a big energy guy, big enthusiastic guy. We need that.”
And eventually, Rivers knows he’ll need Anderson the player, as well. Whenever that happens, Anderson said he’ll be ready.
Until then, he’ll wait for his turn and keep the rest of his teammates ready to go.
“He wants to play, like everyone else, but if you had to vote for the MVP teammate, I think he wins hands down,” Rivers said. “He’s gone through that frustration of trying to train and not play, yet if you watched our bench during the games, you would never know it.”