Kyle “Slow Mo” Anderson Is One Of The Most Fun Players To Watch In The NBA

At the beginning of free agency, the Minnesota Timberwolves signed eight-year veteran Kyle Anderson. The savvy wing has played eight years in the NBA, the first four with the San Antonio Spurs and then four with the Memphis Grizzlies. His teams have made the playoffs six of those eight years. Anderson is a fierce competitor who can play almost any role on the court. He can be a two-way wing, a defensive stopper you can put on the opponent’s best player, and a secondary distributor. Anderson can even act as a backup point guard. While Anderson’s role has changed a lot throughout his career, one thing has remained constant: He has one of the best nicknames in the league. “Slow Mo” is one of the most fun and unique players to watch.

In an interview with ESPN before San Antonio drafted him, Anderson spoke about the origin of his nickname. While playing in an AAU tournament, Anderson said his team “had played this team from Houston, and all these Texas people were saying I had such a great game, but they didn’t really know my name, so they just called me ‘Slow’ Mo’ because they said it looked like I was playing in slow motion. I like the nickname, and it’s stuck with me.”

When you watch Anderson play, you will immediately notice this slow-motion appearance. While most NBA players whiz up and down the court at speeds that almost match an Olympic sprinter, Kyle moves very methodically and patiently. We’ve gotten used to watching players use their athleticism to dominate in the modern NBA. Therefore, it’s almost confusing the first time you watch Slow Mo get a steal to an easy transition bucket, despite all the defenders catching up to him quickly.

However, once you watch Anderson do this same move a few times, you begin to realize that it’s all a part of the brilliance of his game. Slow Mo is great at confusing defenders with his moves and often seems to trick them into guarding him the way he wants. On his signature “slow breaks,” Anderson will often adjust the angle of his drive down court to keep defenders directly behind him so that they don’t have a clear angle to block or contest his shot without fouling. By the time the defender figures out how to readjust and get around him, Anderson is already at the rim in his shooting motion or dunking the ball.

Even though he’s never been the fastest guy in the gym, he’s been a great basketball player since he was a kid. Kyle’s dad said in the aforementioned ESPN article that “Kyle’s been around basketball since he was born, and he began playing on the day he started walking, which was three days before his first birthday, and ever since his first basketball camp at age 3, he’s played three or four years up. People think it’s crazy, but it’s reality.”

Along with Anderson’s natural gifts, having that much experience being around the game explains part of why he’s such a crafty and intelligent player. The more experience you have in any field, the more you understand how you can excel best given your strengths, and that seems to be part of why his unorthodox style of play works so well in the NBA. Slow Mo learned how to use finesse and skill to stand out from the crowd at a young age, which often shows when he scores in the paint.

Anderson is a master of the pump fake, and he can often trick players into jumping into him in the post so he can draw contact and create and-1 opportunities. He’s also able to use his pump fake in the mid-range to get players to jump past him, sometimes multiple times, and then use that extra space he created to drain a jumper or get closer to the rim for a floater. Anderson also has excellent touch near the rim. He puts some supremely funky spins on his floaters that make them bounce off the glass and into the hoop at the perfect angle.

Anderson is also a very adept ball handler for his size at 6’9”. While he may not often be given the ball to set up plays, he’s a very capable pick-and-role player with great court vision in drive-and-kick situations. Anderson is also adept at finding his fellow bigs in the paint, which should benefit Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert by helping them get easy buckets.

The Wolves needed complementary playmaking and ball-handling skills last season. The starters would occasionally get stuck in the mud of “my turn, your turn” offense, and Jordan McLaughlin was the only true distributor they had off the bench to shake things up. Now they will have a 3/4 in Slow Mo, who can add playmaking to any rotation. Slow Mo played point guard most of his basketball career before entering the NBA.

Anderson is also an incredibly savvy defender. He knows how to use his long 7’2.5” wingspan to get miraculous poke away steals from unsuspecting guards and wings. Anderson is often able to start his fast break by knocking the ball out of the dribbler’s hand, then going around their opposite side to grab the ball behind their back. Not only does it look super cool, as you’ll see in the following series of highlights, but it seems to maximize the chance that he’ll be able to recover the poke away by putting it in a place where only he can get it .

Anderson’s intelligent playstyle allows his slow-motion, stop-and-start game to thrive in the NBA. It’s always fun to watch people with unique skill sets play in the NBA, and Slow Mo may be one of the most unique players in the league. Not only will he significantly improve the Timberwolves roster, but he will also be a blast for fans to watch throughout the season.

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