Spurs' Popovich: Kyle Anderson's basketball IQ important to team

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San Antonio Spurs' Kyle Anderson (1) works against Dallas Mavericks' Raymond Felton for an opportunity to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Before he injured his left knee in a loss to the Thunder, San Antonio Spurs' Kyle Anderson saw a couple of things happen to him in his fourth season in the NBA. He got the starting nod to fill the void left by the injured Kawhi Leonard and he is enjoying career-highs in several statistical categories.

Through 22 games this season, he is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage and more importantly, capturing the approval of Head Coach Gregg Popovich.

Anderson has been instrumental in holding the fort down and keeping the Spurs competitive as the team waits for the inevitable return of their franchise player. His ability to play multiple positions, defend and score hasn't gone unnoticed by Popovich nor has his basketball mind.

"Kyle can play the point and handle it. He can play the three. He can play the four. He’s just a good basketball mind," said Popovich after the team's win over Memphis.

Prior to the Spurs' game versus the Thunder, Kyle was posting 10.6 points, 2.4 steals, 2.8 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 52.6-percent shooting including a 14-point night against the Hornets in a win.

"He’s been real important to help us keep our head above water," Popovich said.

Nicknamed "Slo-Mo" for his body motion on the court looking like he's going at a snail's pace, Anderson is putting his four years NBA experience all together with poise and making up for his lack of great athleticism with his high basketball IQ which in turn, has kept the Spurs near the top of the ultra-competitive West.

Anderson is having a solid season and hopefully the injury won't derail his upward momentum in his NBA career.

Said Popovich, "You know, not a great athlete, but really has a high IQ basketball wise."

Twitter: @JeffGSpursZone