Orlando Magic: Ryan Anderson Wins NBA's Most Improved Player Award
Orlando Magic starting power forward Ryan Anderson has received the recognition he deserves for his splendid season. Earlier today, news was released via nba.com that Anderson was voted the NBA's Most Improved Player.
He becomes the fifth Magic player to win the award; the most recent being Hedo Turkoglu in 2008.
Anderson, who set career highs in points and rebounds this season, received 33 first-place votes.
The award is given to the player that has made the most significant improvement from the previous season.
The winner of this award is typically a player that transitions from being a role player to a starter.
With his improved numbers and play, Anderson is the perfect candidate to receive the award.
In 2010, Anderson averaged 10.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and shot 40.8 percent from behind the arc, while playing 22.5 minutes a game.
The Magic were pleasantly surprised with the production of Anderson in 2010, and inserted him into the starting lineup at the beginning of this season.
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Once inserted into the starting lineup, Anderson did not let down those who believed in him. He averaged 16.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and shot 39.3 percent from behind the arc, while playing 32.2 minutes per game.
Anderson was able to improve upon last year's level of production while playing more minutes, which is not always easy to do.
When Anderson was on the bench, the Magic struggled to produce on offense.
The Magic averaged 107.5 points per 100 possessions when Anderson was on the floor.
With Anderson on the bench, the Magic scored just 94.1 points per 100 possessions.
Basically, Anderson produced about 13 points per 100 possessions for the Magic. When he wasn't on the court, the team struggled to score.
When Anderson was on the bench, the Magic scored less than a point per possession, which was almost as bad as the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Bobcats were historically bad this season; as they finished with the worst winning percentage in NBA history.
Yet without Anderson, the Magic scored only 1.6 points more than the Bobcats per 100 possessions. This shows just how important Anderson was to the Magic over the course of the regular season.
Anderson is among the best stretch power forwards in the game, meaning he is a serious threat from behind the arc.
This can be evidenced by his three-point shooting numbers from this season. He led the NBA in both three-pointers made (166) and three-pointers attempted (422).
The California product has a fast release and takes most of his threes right after receiving a pass.
His quick motion makes it difficult for opponents to disturb his shot.
Every team in the league could use a shooter like Anderson, who fits in perfectly in Stan Van Gundy's offensive scheme.
Van Gundy's scheme was predicated on getting the ball into the hands of All-Star center Dwight Howard, who would often draw double-teams from opponents.
This would lead to a ton of open shots for Anderson and the rest of the Magic players.
Even though Howard is now out with an injury, the Magic still depend on the long ball as much as any team in the league.
His ability to fit seamlessly into Van Gundy's offense propelled him to put up the best numbers of his career.
Anderson has a unique skill set because he is proficient from behind the arc and is also great on the offensive glass.
He finished the season ranked fifth in the league in offensive rebounds reeling in 3.7 per game.
Anderson's prowess on the offensive glass is further evidenced by the fact that he only secured four rebounds per game on the defensive end.
This is interesting because most players tend to grab far more rebounds on the defensive glass, but Anderson bucks this trend.
He is effective on the offensive glass because he puts himself in good situations, and more often than not is right about how the play will unfold.
Due to his hard work on the offensive boards, Anderson often has the ball right underneath the hoop, which leads to easy points.
When he wasn't able to convert under the hoop, he is usually able to draw fouls and get to the free-throw line.
Anderson's proficiency from behind the arc makes him difficult to defend for other power forwards. This is due to the fact that very few players of Anderson's size are a true threat from behind the arc.
The Magic will have a decision to make if another team offers Anderson a contract this offseason, and hopefully whoever is running the team this summer will try to retain him.
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