Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic is usually the one that receives attention from the media (trade rumors have been swirling this season) as well as from opposing defenses (many attempts are made to stop the big man) on a daily basis. However, the Orlando Magic have come up with a way to allow Howard to have more freedom on the offensive side of the basketball game.
This freedom is linked to the three-point shooting accuracy of starting power forward Ryan Anderson. Anderson is currently shooting the three-point shot with an accuracy rate of 41 percent (making 46 out of 111 attempts), thus making opposing coaches rather nervous. How can defenses defend Howard if the three-point shot is going down?
Anderson, who played college basketball at Cal Berkeley was drafted by the New Jersey Nets in the first round back in 2008, before being traded to the Magic along with Vince Carter during the summer of 2009. Since arriving in Orlando in 2009, Anderson averaged 7.7 points per game in a reserve role. However, he has seen his scoring average increase and is now averaging 17.8 points to go along with 7.2 rebounds per game as a starter.
Anderson has also rounded his game as he can not only shoot the three-point shot straight up, he can do so coming of a screen, out of a double-team or even in transition where his defender may forget about him for a quick moment. He displayed his abilities against the New York Knicks (January 16 at the Garden) scoring 30 points (7-of-13 from downtown) and grabbing seven rebounds.
The growth and consistency of Anderson will be a huge factor as the season rolls along and heads into the postseason. Howard will be facing multiple double-teams, so Anderson knowingly should be ready to shoot the ball and he should be used to it by now. It appears that defenses are more willing to allow Anderson to shoot the three-point shot than fellow starters Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and/or J.J. Redick.