Ryan Anderson: 3 Early Signs He's in Line for a Breakout Season in Orlando

Hunter Konsens@HunterKonsensCorrespondent IIJanuary 2, 2012

Ryan Anderson: 3 Early Signs He's in Line for a Breakout Season in Orlando

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    What a fantastic start to the season for Ryan Anderson!

    After being buried on the bench for most of his first two seasons in Orlando, Anderson has rewarded Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy for handing over the starting power forward job by playing absolutely terrific. Not only is he nailing three-point shots with precision, but he has given fellow teammate Dwight Howard some much-needed help in the rebounding department.

    So far this season, Anderson has been arguably Orlando's best player and there is no reason to believe the former University of California's ridiculous play will end anytime soon.

    So, without further ado, here are three early signs that Ryan Anderson is in line for a breakout season. 

Leads NBA in Three-Pointers Made

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    If there is one aspect to Ryan Anderson's game that has NBA general managers drooling, it is his ability to shoot threes as a power forward. The NBA game has evolved and the ability to shoot from beyond the arc is becoming vital for a four man's success. 

    Anderson is in the perfect situation in Orlando. He is not called upon to be the first scoring option, but the offense does run through him from time to time. Plus, he knows his role on offense as a stretch four and stays out by the three-point line, which opens up the paint for Dwight Howard to perform his refined post game on opponent centers. 

    Anderson has been shooting absolutely lights out. Not only does he lead the NBA in three-pointers made with 21, but he is nailing them at an efficient rate.

Huge Spike in Minutes

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    Not only did Magic coach Stan Van Gundy give Ryan Anderson the starting power forward gig, but he raised his minutes per game substantially. Last season Anderson saw 22.3 minutes each outing, which is approximately 10 minutes less than this season.

    When the Magic acquired former Boston Celtic Glen Davis this offseason, many Magic fans thought that Anderson would be sent to the bench once again. However, with only three legitimate big men on the roster, many of Davis' minutes are seen at the center position. This leaves a plethora of minutes for Anderson at power forward.  

    If you don't believe that this huge spike in minutes will have a huge impact on Anderson's statistics, you are sadly mistaken. Already Anderson has increased his averages in points, rebounds and assists from last season. 

Anderson Has Newfound Confidence

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    Last season it seemed as if Ryan Anderson were timid when Stan Van Gundy substituted him in to give former Magic power forward Brandon Bass a breather. He passed up open shots, played sub-par defense and never hit the boards.

    This season, however, Anderson has found confidence in his game due to his coaches, teammates and fans believing in him.

    "I feel good. I feel confident and comfortable," Anderson said. "My teammates are looking for me, and all I have to do is keeping making shots and crash the boards."

    But Anderson is not the only one that has commented on his spectacular play. Charlotte Bobcats star Corey Maggette has also been vocal on the subject.

    "The way Anderson is playing is unbelievable," the Bobcats SF said. "He gives them a different dimension to the game."

    If Anderson keeps up this play, expect the NBA Most Improved Player rumors to start swirling.