Justin Anderson Drops 27 in Legends Debut

Mavs rookie Justin Anderson scored 27 points in his D-League debut Saturday night.

Justin Anderson scored 27 points and Salah Mejri grabbed 12 rebounds on Saturday night in their brief assignment to the Texas Legends.

The rookies were assigned on Saturday to the club’s D-League affiliate in Frisco so they could get some extra run. It appears they took full advantage of that opportunity, as Anderson’s 27 points was a game-high for either team and Mejri’s 12 boards led the Legends. The Tunisian big man also blocked six shots. Texas won the game against the Oklahoma City Blue, 102-86. Click here for the complete box score and to watch the game.

The Mavericks immediately called them back up to the NBA roster this morning, and they’ll join the team in Oklahoma City for tonight’s contest against OKC’s NBA squad, the Thunder. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. Central.

“We’re gonna give them an opportunity to play, get minutes, get a chance to play against some other NBA-caliber players,” Rick Carlisle said yesterday. “It’s a great opportunity for them, and it’s one of the real advantages of having the D-League team so close.”

The Mavericks frequently sent Ricky Ledo down to the D-League during the 2013-14 season, and Jae Crowder, Bernard James, and Shane Larkin also played a couple games for the Legends that season. On one particular occasion in February 2014, Crowder posted a triple-double on the same night James scored 38 points with 18 rebounds. Meanwhile, Larkin scored 9 points and added as many assists.

Crowder and Larkin would later contribute to the NBA club down the stretch of the season, while James would return to the Mavericks a year later and play a huge role on the team while starting center Tyson Chandler missed some games due to injury.

Playing in the D-League is an excellent opportunity for younger players, especially those who aren’t getting many minutes at the NBA level. The Legends essentially run the same exact offense that the Mavericks do, so there’s little to no need for adjustment when a player is assigned. Add to it that Frisco is a 30-minute drive from American Airlines Center and you can see why the Mavs would take full advantage of that relationship.

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