With Wilson Chandler deciding to opt out of the Orlando “Bubble,” the Brooklyn Nets brought in Justin Anderson, who had a 10-day run with Brooklyn in January to replace the veteran stretch four.
Anderson was not the only player to secure a place with the the Nets in Orlando, either. Jeremiah Martin, the Nets two-way 6’4” combo guard, wasn’t waived at the 5 p.m. deadline Sunday and is expected to join Brooklyn in Walt Disney World. Things can still change by the end of the transaction window Tuesday night. Another player could theoretically opt out, creating another roster opening, but it seems Anderson and Martin are set.
Both players had relatively short stints with Long Island, both joining the Nets G League affiliate in the second half of the pandemic-shortened season.
Following a 10-day contract with Brooklyn in January, Anderson was brought back to the organization via trade with the Raptors 905, the Raptors affiliate. The Nets traded Henry Ellenson to the Raps, solidifying a long-term interest between the two sides. The same week, the Nets signed Martin —and Chris Chiozza— to two-way deals.
“They were pleased with my time up there, even though they said I didn’t get much of an opportunity,” Anderson said after the trade.
The 6’6”, 230-pound Anderson, who has 219 regular season NBA games under his belt, plus 12 post-season games, quickly made an impact with Long Island. The veteran logged 16 games with the Nets G League affiliate, starting 14. He posted averages of 20.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.1 steals in 33.6 minutes per game. Anderson shot 37.1 percent from deep and 47.8 percent overall.
And on February 11, he racked up 48 points in a game vs. the OKC Blue, the Thunder affiliate. It was the highest single-game point total of the year in the G League at that point...
Less than a month after joining the Nets G League affiliate, Anderson was named to Team USA for the FIBA AmeriCup Qualifying Games. The games are part of the FIBA qualification process for the World Cup in 2023 to be played in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Anderson had a good debut for Team USA, scoring 11 points and snagging three rebounds on 4-of-10 shooting in the teams win over Puerto Rico. Before beginning his professional career, Anderson won two gold medals with Team USA when he was a teenager in the 2009 FIBA U16 Americas Championship and the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship.
To Anderson, winning in a Team USA uniform holds special value. He believes winning for his country is much bigger than winning in college and in the NBA.
“I think it’s the highlight because this is something that’s so much bigger than just college basketball, this is so much bigger than the NBA,” Anderson told Steve Drumwright of USA Basketball. “This is playing for your country, this is being able to go and represent your country in a way that only a few hands are likely to do in any sport, soccer, basketball, whatever. This is the top of the top.”
Anderson is also active in the community, both domestically and internationally. He set up the Just a Chance Foundation in his native Virginia to help local kids through basketball camps and educational opportunities. Internationally, he’s a member of the “Starting Five” of Hoops2O along with teammates Joe Harris and Garrett Temple, along with Malcolm Brogdon, and Anthony Tolliver.
And last month, he joined with Brogdon and Jaylen Brown to participate in Black Lives Matter protests in Virginia. At the time, Anderson said that Long Island GM Matt Riccardi, who traded for his rights, had encouraged him. He admitted he was uncertain it was the right move for his career.
“What made me get over my fear was understanding that I was going to be a black man in America — and my future children are going to be black kids in America — way longer than my playing career,” Anderson told Mike Mazzeo. “It was a risk that I was willing to take, and luckily my colleagues continued to go out there and walk alongside me and put us at an even playing field. But it was definitely a risk.”
Anderson had been on everyone’s short list for a call-up and in fact, several teams were believed to be considering him for their “bubble” rosters. Days before he was signed to replace Chandler, he was named to the All G League third team.
Only a week prior to the arrival of Anderson, the Nets signed Martin to a two-year, two-way contract for the remainder of the season. It was the first time Brooklyn/Long Island had signed a two-way player for longer than a year.
“I bring a little bit of everything, mainly defense,” Martin told NetsDaily in January. “I bring energy and I know I can bring that every game. Most of the time you know your shot is not going to be there every night but your defensive energy has to be there. I feel like that’s one thing I can bring everyday. Just bringing that energy, bringing that defense, and let the offense follow.”
Martin had made a name for himself as a member of the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Miami Heat’s G League affiliate. He went undrafted last June and signed with Heat. Although the Miami brass liked him, he was sent to the Skyforce at the cutdown.
At the time the Nets picked him up, he was viewed as a bit of an under-the-radar signing, but the Nets liked what they saw from the athletic Memphis product. Here he is, scoring 31 points for the Skyforce not long before the Nets took their chance on him.
At the time, Long Island was underachieving, with an 8-16 record. Martin quickly made an impression with his toughness and leadership.
“I just told one of the players that our record does not define our team,” Martin said following the Nets win on January 14 against the Maine Red Claws. “Our record is bad but I really feel like we are really a way better team than our record is showing so just trying to turn it around and rack up as many wins as I can for this team.”
With Anderson, Martin and Chiozza, Long Island went on a bit of a run before the league shut down on March 12.
The 24 year-old guard is known for his consistent play on both ends of the floor, especially his defense. He is a lockdown defender, who averaged 1.8 steals with Long Island, and can switch very well.
“Bringing whatever the team wants me to do, whether it is on the defensive end or the offensive end and rack up as many wins as we can.”
While he is known for his play on the defensive end, Martin is an aggressive yet crafty driver. In the shortened G League season, the two-way guard averaged 17.7 points, 4.5 assists, and 1.8 steals in 30.4 minutes per game. He split the G League season playing for both the Skyforce (21 games) and the Nets (16 games).
In addition to his time with Long Island, Martin was called up by Brooklyn, playing 16 minutes over three games off the bench. In those three games, Martin posted averages of 0.7 points, 0.7 rebounds, 0.7 assists, and 0.3 steals in only 5.3 minutes per contest.
Of the two, Anderson is more likely to see action. His 3-and-D game may not replace the wily Chandler’s experience. At 6’6”, he may seem undersized, but he is a strong, 231-pound presence and has a 7’ wingspan. As for the 6’2” Martin, at this point, he’s insurance but the Nets liked him enough to give him a two-way deal. So just being in the “bubble” is a good thing for his development.