Alan Anderson is one of the three free agents who John Wall definitely wants back with the Wizards, even though he's coming off the worst season of his career and will be 34 in 2016-17.
Anderson wants back in, too. "Even though I'm an energy player, it's hard to bring energy when you've got a suit on," he said after averaging a career-low 5.0 points in a 41-41 season for Washington after signing a one-year, $4 million deal.
Anderson played in fewer games with the Wizards (13) than he did earlier in his career when he was an undrafted free agent struggling to find a home with the then-Charlotte Bobcats and Toronto Raptors (17 each).
It was his left ankle that required surgery for bone spurs after his season with the Brooklyn Nets concluded last May. He signed with the Wizards to help fill the void behind Otto Porter, who ascended to the starting role with the departure of Paul Pierce, but Anderson began having irritation once he started working out again and wasn't ready for training camp.
The worst-case scenario happened and he was required to have another surgery in early October to remove a loose bone fragment. Terrence Ross (Raptors) had surgery in May as well and played 73 games this season.
"I wasn't able to show a lot of what I was capable of doing," Anderson said. "I'm definitely a totally a different player than what Iv'e shown. I definitely would love to be back.
"I expected to be back around January, then January went to February then February went to (late February) then I came back and got hurt again."
Anderson had a few brief stints that showed why the 6-6 forward was vital. He's physically stronger and is a solid three-point shooter. He had a season-high 18 points in a March 2 win in a road game vs. his hometown Minnesota Timberwolves. Two weeks later, he landed awkwardly in a game and injured his groin to ruin any momentum he'd gained.
Why does Wall want him back? Aside from the belief that Anderson will be better, he's the type of imposing personality the Wizards need off the floor, too. The Wizards don't have many. He not only coached from the bench but entered the fray to silence bickering that became a distraction. When he's not able to be on the court, however, that limits his influence.
"I think me not playing kind of hurt us. I didn't travel the first two months," Anderson said. "We had no consistency. We'd beat tough teams and we'd lose to teams we should beat. We didn't take care of home court as good as we should have. We were just like a roller-coaster. In this league you can't be that."