LA Clippers should increase Alan Anderson’s playing time

The LA Clippers have been struggling lately through injuries and a four-game losing streak, and Doc Rivers has a chance to start using Alan Anderson more to help.

The LA Clippers brought in Alan Anderson over the summer as he signed a one-year contract with the team for the veteran’s minimum. With his addition to the roster, Doc Rivers found himself another player that he can play at shooting guard or small forward. But so far, just 34 games into the season, Rivers hasn’t really given Anderson much of a run.

He’s played a total of just 110 minutes through 11 games and the sample size we have is awfully small, but the team’s offensive rating has still been slightly higher (112.9 rather than 112.1) with him on the floor. Anderson is even hitting a stellar 42.9 percent of his shots from deep on 1.3 attempts per game. So, as a floor spacer, he has been a nice addition to the team. Yet, it might be his defense that’s preventing him from getting more minutes. The Clippers’ defensive rating is 108.2 when he’s on the court, compared to 102.2 when he sits. At 6’3″, he doesn’t have much size or length on the wing.

So, that could be the root of why Doc isn’t playing Anderson a ton of minutes, but it still doesn’t answer why he won’t play him much even when he has a good game. I mean, it wouldn’t hurt to give him minutes some nights when other guys just can’t get it going. The Dallas Mavericks game was a prime example of that; Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass saw a combined 17 minutes. Doc could have just played Anderson more, but instead he didn’t and they ended up losing the game.

Now, while I’m not saying Alan Anderson would have won the Clippers that game, he could have been the difference in what was just a two-point loss. Instead of playing Bass. who was -4 in the 7:45 he played, Doc could have used Anderson more as he was a +6 in the eight minutes he played.

Even though this was just one game, it’s a telling fact that even when Anderson plays well he just isn’t earning the trust of his coach, and last game against the New Orleans Pelicans is another prime example of that.

Anderson came in and gave the team some quality minutes in the first and second quarter, scoring six points and making two three-pointers shots. Yet, despite that quick impact, he wasn’t given playing time through the final two quarters of play.

That isn’t an ideal recipe for winning basketball games. I understand Wesley Johnson was 1-of-7 from the field, so that forced Doc into playing Bass more minutes at the four. But that doesn’t excuse him from making bad decisions and playing guys who didn’t deserve to play as much as they did. Jamal Crawford saw 28 minutes and went just 3-of-15 from the field, while Raymond Felton shot a useless 1-5 in 21 minutes of action.

An argument can be made that the play of those two single handily cost the team the game, and maybe if Alan got more of a run he would have helped them to ultimately come out on top. That didn’t happen, though, and now the team is just 2-5 over their last seven games; giving up wins to lower level competition such as the Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans. Injuries to the likes of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul aside, some of these results are disappointing.

If the LA Clippers are looking to be contenders, they can’t be losing games to lesser competition, even with the loss of Griffin. Great teams like San Antonio, Golden State and Cleveland don’t make excuses when they lose star players, so the Clippers can’t complain either. Things like this happen over the course of a season, and it can either strengthen your team or break it apart.

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However, the good thing that can come out of it is that the team gets to see other players in action. So far it has been a disappointment with Bass and Pierce, but maybe Anderson can help bring a spark to the team. Then again, that’s only going to happen if Doc Rivers can start trusting him and let he play the minutes he deserves.

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