Instant analysis: Sixers reunite with fan-favorite forward Justin Anderson

NBA: FEB 10 Clippers at 76ers
PHILADELPHIA, PA – FEBRUARY 10: Philadelphia 76ers Forward Justin Anderson (1) puts up a layup in the first half during the game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers on February 10, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Daryl Morey and the Sixers have brought back one of Joel Embiid’s favorite teammates.

First reported by Paul Hudrick of 97.3 ESPN (and later confirmed by multiple other sources), the Sixers and Justin Anderson have agreed on a two-year contract. The deal is partially guaranteed for 2021 and non-guaranteed in 2022, meaning Anderson is likely coming in to compete for a spot during camp (similar to that of Derrick Walton Jr. and Ryan Broekhoff).

One of Joel Embiid‘s favorite teammates during the latter stages of the “Process”, bringing back Anderson on a low-risk deal is a clear indicator of newly hired President Daryl Morey valuing his players’ mental well-being. It’s no secret that Embiid hasn’t been the happiest of campers the last few months, and bringing in a close friend like Anderson should go a long way in terms of improving morale.

Outside of assessing Embiid’s overall happiness level, bringing in a guy like Anderson provides the Sixers with some added roster versatility. Anderson is 6-8, and can defend multiple positions on the court. He most recently logged minutes at shooting guard with the Brooklyn Nets in 2020, but could easily slide down into a stretch four position with Philadelphia.

Anderson had his best games with the Sixers, averaging 7.1 points per game across two seasons. One of those “hidden gems” that Sam Hinkie found during his time as general manager, it makes sense for Morey to view Anderson in a similar light.

Anderson also averaged a career-high 2.8 threes attempted per game when playing for Philly, which is in line with the team’s continued pursuit for floor spacing this offseason.

As previously stated, Anderson’s contract is only partially guaranteed for the upcoming season, meaning that the team isn’t 100% committing a roster spot to him just quite yet. With that said, the two-year nature of the deal is a good sign for Anderson, and it’s hard for me to imagine the team bringing him in just to cut him during camp.

I wouldn’t put any money on it, but my guess is that the former “Process legend” is dawning a Sixers jersey once more come opening night.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire