A staple on the Wizards' sideline during the 2015-16 season is the highest-paid assistant coach in the NBA. Alan Anderson, who has been unable to play because of of surgically repaired left ankle, goes on every road trip as he has found himself in the role of motivator and mediator.
"Timeouts, shootarounds, practices, even though he's not able to participate with those guys he's been a good sounding board," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "He puts across to them what he sees during a game. It's been worthwhile him going on the road trips with us to add some leadership."
When Kris Humphries made a career-high five three-pointers in a game vs. the Orlando Magic, he credited Anderson's insight with helping him take advantage of the defense. Last week when the Wizards were being routed by the Portland Trail Blazers, Anderson got in between a spat on the bench between Nene and Bradley Beal after the big man drew agitated about him not moving off the ball to create a passing angle.
Sometimes, Anderson's animated behavior can be the most entertaining part of games.
"I just want to be with the team. When I'm not playing I want to be with the team some way, somehow," Anderson, 33, said. "Even though my energy isn't on the court, playing with them I can still bring some insight when the come off the court and give them some good positive energy.
"I just try to cheer my team on. It's good to always have some guys in your corner on the road especially. ... I know I like it when I'm playing to see you get your team going. I know they like it, too."
The Wizards' bench has been full of players out of uniform. This week, that includes Otto Porter (hip), Kris Humphries (knee) and Drew Gooden (calf).
Anderson, who could stay behind on road trips to rehabilitate, has been working out and was on his way to do some individual drills after morning shootarounds. He had surgery for bone spurs in his left ankle in May after his season with the Brooklyn Nets ended. As he tried to work his way back on the court for training camp, Anderson's discomfort persisted and it was determined he still had a bone fragment that had to be removed. That procedure was performed in October.
He was added in free agency on a one-year deal to add depth to the wing, which already had Porter and rookie Kelly Oubre. A veteran who has had playoff success in Brooklyn, next to Paul Pierce, was needed for the position regardless of how much he contributes in the boxscores.
"That's all I can do with a suit on. The most I'm capable of doing," Anderson said. "I just try to always be relentless, always be aggressive. Always excitement. I've guarded all the best players on the other teams. That's been my job since I played in the league. I actually did a pretty good job on each of them. I just try to tell them what I use to try to help myself out.
"It's hard to stop those superstars. You can always try to be there as much as possible and make your presence felt. I just try to show them what I do."
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