Justin Anderson and Tiago Splitter arrived in Philadelphia on Friday for their first game with the team. Anderson, in fact, got there just a few hours before tipoff Friday after missing the bag check-in window on his first flight and experiencing a delay on his second one.
The Sixers project them to have very different roles -- one as a veteran voice and the other as a versatile contributor.
Anderson was just getting over the departure of his veteran teammate, Deron Williams, when he was informed he, too, was leaving the Mavs. Anderson had met with the Sixers during the pre-draft process and left a memorable mark on Brett Brown.
"When I interviewed him a few years ago, he was polished, he was articulate, he was Virginia, he was tough," Brown said.
Anderson was impressed by Brown's mentioning parts of their meeting when the coach called him after the trade.
"When I found it was here, I was very excited because it's a young organization that wants to get out and play hard, play fast and try to make change and try to turn things around," Anderson said. "I want to blend right in like a chameleon."
The 6-foot-6 Anderson played point guard through power forward on the Mavericks. Brown envisions him sliding into a backup four spot behind Dario Saric at times. Brown said Anderson will need to work on his shot, but considers him to be "developable."
"Just tough, hard play," Anderson said of his game. "Offensively, being able to shoot the ball, space the floor. Being able to use my athleticism, get to the rim, get fouled. Defensively, just being able to rotate, block shots, guard best player, take on challenges and do whatever I can."
Splitter has been sidelined all season after undergoing hip surgery one year ago Saturday. He still is dealing with what he describes as "muscle imbalance" including his calves. Splitter had been participating in full practices with the Hawks prior to the trade and would like to return this season.
In the meantime, Splitter can share his title-winning experience with the younger Sixers. He captured a title with the Spurs while Brown was on the coaching staff.
"I know what a team needs to be championship caliber," Splitter said. "I'm not saying I'm going to come here and change anything now; I'm just going to see what I see and help the young guys to develop into great players. There are a lot of great players here already. You guys have seen how the team is playing some nights here, it’s unbelievable. They just have to do that every night on a consistent basis. I hope I can help them, they can help me also get back on the court."
Splitter could share some of his fundamentals with the bigs.
"He's just a blue-collar workhorse that is an elite screener, an elite roller," Brown said. "I know in my Spurs days with him, he was as good as we had coached on the assist from the roll."
Splitter’s time with the Sixers most likely will be brief. His contract expires this and the Sixers will try to help him get healthy to approach the free agent market.
"As far as long term, him fitting in and being part of something, I don’t see that at this date," president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said. "But once again, it's certainly something that we'll look at if he happens to fit. I think his anticipation, though, is just landing somewhere, getting the chance to finish out the season, showing that he's healthy and then setting himself up for an opportunity to play somewhere next year."
What about Bogut?
Andrew Bogut was included in the trade from the Mavericks with Anderson. The veteran center will not be with the Sixers for at least a week, according to Colangelo, and may not come to Philadelphia at all.
"He's got some personal things that he's dealing with at home, family-related," Colangelo said. "There's a possibility that he'll want to go play somewhere in the playoffs. In order to accomplish that, that would take some sort of a buyout."