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Ryan Anderson had a breakout season but will his shooting magic run out in the playoffs?
2011-2012 Regular Season Stats: 16.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 39.3 three-point shooting percentage.
Ryan Anderson had a prototypical "breakout" season. In his fourth NBA season, the lanky forward finally won a starting job and the 30-plus minutes that usually accompany it. Anderson's height (6'10") allows him to shoot over most defenders with ease.
He benefited greatly from the presence of Dwight Howard at the center position in Orlando.
Regardless of whether you like or dislike Howard, or even if you feel he's overrated as a player, the simple fact is that Howard's presence in the middle of the Orlando Magic offense creates open perimeter shots for his teammates.
That doesn't mean Orlando is automatically better with Howard. It simply means they get more open long-range shots as a result of him being in the lineup. Adding to that dynamic is that Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy has realized this and has designed an offense to take advantage of it.
Orlando led the NBA in three-point-shot attempts this season. They put up an average of 27.0 three-point shots per game. Anderson alone attempted an average of 6.9 per game.
The Magic pulled off an upset when they won Game 1 of their opening round series against the Pacers. The game was won on three-point shooting. A final score of 81-77, and Orlando was 9-of-24 from beyond the stripe while Indiana was only 4-of-13. That's a 15-point difference in production from long range.
Ryan Anderson looked a bit off, though. He was only 2-of-7 from the field and 1-of-4 from three-point range. He also grabbed only six rebounds. Perhaps Pacers coach Frank Vogel sensed that Anderson was the player he had to stop to ensure a victory?
Clearly, it didn't work out, and Anderson will have more chances to showcase his game in the playoffs.
There could be some added pressure since he's a free agent this summer. The difference between a good and bad postseason performance could be millions of dollars. He can't let that affect him, though, at least not after his poor Game 1 showing.