It is complete vinsanity in Orlando, but Vince Carter wasn’t the only player that the Magic acquired in their trade with the New Jersey Nets. Obviously the big news is Vince Carter is coming back to Florida to play for his hometown Orlando Magic, but the acquisition of Forward Ryan Anderson should not be overlooked. He was not just simply a “throw in,” to balance out the trade. This is a player that both General Manager Otis Smith and Head CoachStan Van Gundy wanted on this team.
The Magic were extremely interested in Ryan Anderson during last year’s draft. Anderson was scooped up just one pick in front of the Magic at 21. Ryan Anderson is a 6’10 21 year old SF/PF who was drafted by the Nets out of California after his sophomore season. He led the Golden Bears in both scoring and rebounding during both of his collegiate seasons. Anderson led the always extremely competitive Pac-10 in scoring and was third in rebounding during his the 2007-08 season. The Sporting News named him a 2nd team All American after averaging 21.1 PPG and 9.9 RPG. He also shot over 50% from the field and over 40% from downtown. He is also a very good free throw shooter.
Ryan Anderson was nearly selected by the Magic last year. According to Otis Smith, Anderson was high on the team’s radar, but the Nets scooped him up just before the Magic had a chance to decide between Lee and Anderson. The Magic wound up taking Courtney Lee from Western Kentucky and ironically, the two have now switched places. Some critics say that Ryan Anderson is not tough enough or athletic enough to handle the NBA, but I think the Magic got themselves a player can contribute off of the bench this season and wind up becoming a pretty good NBA player. He is an extremely good scorer. He can score with his back to basket and he can really shoot the ball from downtown. He takes very good advantage of mismatches and isn’t afraid to just take his opponents will give him. He has good footwork and he knows how to finish around the basket. When Anderson does get into the pain, he is a good passer, which is key for a kick-out team like Orlando. His shooting is also going to be key. As Stan Van Gundy told us during the press conference, by him coming in at the 4 for Rashard Lewis, they won’t have to change their offense since he is such a good perimeter shooter. He is not extremely strong, but he knows how to get into good position for a rebound. He has struggled to defend big men. He needs to gain much more upper body strength to defend and rebound better.
Anderson had a slow start to his NBA career, but he didn’t get a whole lot of minutes. He did show some flashes of being a very good player when given the opportunity. He average 7.4 PPG and 4.7 RPG in just 19.9 MPG. He was just a 39% shooter but his past shooting percentages make that seem like an anomaly. He had two 20-point games and several times he went over 15 points. There were some games that he played nearly 40 minutes and some games where he couldn’t even crack the lineup. With more consistent minutes with Orlando, he should be a solid player in the Magic rotation. Welcome to Orlando, Ryan Anderson.
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