News » Adjust to NBA? No worries, mate Andersen's experience, travel help him to adapt

Adjust to NBA? No worries, mate Andersen's experience, travel help him to adapt

Adjust to NBA? No worries, mate Andersen's experience, travel help him to adapt GLOBETROTTERS

Rockets current and perhaps future (Sergio Llull is an unsigned draft pick) who hail from outside the U.S.:

David Andersen Australia

Luis Scola Argentina

Yao Ming China

Sergio Llull Spain

David Andersen doesn't dance.

The rookie hazing - though it might seem odd for a 29-year-old veteran of nine professional seasons - will come, particularly when the Rockets hit the road tonight.

"I'm sure I'll get some rookie duty," he said. "It's a fun thing. You can't look at it like a burden."

But today, when the Rockets hold their annual "open practice," he could be ordered to dance.

"I can't dance," Andersen, 6-11, said. "I'm Australian, man. We don't dance. We sit back, relax and talk."

In his case, that might be unnecessary. His real rookie hazing comes next. The Rockets' preseason schedule offers a chance to match up against Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard in the span of four days next week.

Welcome to the NBA.

Meet the challenge

"It's like throwing yourself in the deep end to see if you can swim," Andersen said. "You come out and you know you're going against the best. When you're going against the best, you have to raise your level to their level. We'll see what happens. I'm looking forward to it."

In some ways, that schedule will test more than Andersen's ability to defend some of the league's best big men. The Rockets likely will send plenty of help his way, giving them a chance to see if they can still defend as well on the perimeter as they have in the past few years while using some of those defenders to send double-team help.

"It's not all on you," Andersen said. "You do have to have your teammates to help a little bit. I can use a lot of it until I get used to it."

Teammate Luis Scola had played eight years professionally but also needed time to adjust, coming off the bench most of his rookie season and often struggling with foul trouble while adjusting to NBA rules. As a center, Andersen will more often be in the paint, where more contact is allowed than on the perimeter, where Scola had to become accustomed to NBA rules that prohibit defenders from using their hands.

Still, Andersen and Scola expect growing pains, even if Andersen's experience with changing leagues helps with his latest move.

"It is a little different," Scola said. "It is different rules, different defensive systems. He will need to do adjusting, but it's not like he played in the same place forever. He's been changing countries and changing leagues, and he's been adapting just fine in every situation."

Through four days of practices, Andersen seems to fit in offensively, often working at the high post and bringing a solid outside shot. He has made 50.6 percent of his shots in his professional career, 45 percent of his 3s, averaging 10.5 points per game.

"I think it's going to be easier for him (than other players) offensively," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "He's a skilled offensive player. He can play a lot of different ways."

If the struggles are inevitable, the key could be how quickly he can get past them. Though he will find more similarities with how the games are officiated inside than Scola did on the perimeter, there are differences that will demand time before they come naturally.

Different set of rules

"There are bigger bodies here," Andersen said. "And the refs ? they (allow) one hand and one forearm (on an opposing player's back.) It's all different. You have to adjust your game to a different style. It will take a period of time."

But Andersen seems more excited than concerned, which could come from being a rookie, with experience.

"Technically, I'm a rookie," he said. "It's all about experience. From that aspect, I've been around. I've seen a lot of things."

Still, he might be ordered to dance anyway.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: October 6, 2009


Copyright ©, Inc. All rights reserved 2018.