After securing the NBA's Most Improved Player award last season, it would seem Ryan Anderson has his sights set on another accolade. It is more prestigious that the one he already owns, but adding the Sixth Man of the Year award to his resume is a reality this season.
After a stellar season with the Orlando Magic last year, Anderson has done the same with the New Orleans Hornets thus far. He's putting up 16.8 points and 6.5 rebounds a night while knocking down 44.1 percent of his shots from the field and 39.8 percent from three-point range.
Anderson is the league's most prolific shooter at this point, leading the NBA in both three-point field-goals made and attempted. His accuracy is tied for 28th amongst qualified shooters, which is a career high. Anderson struggled through December and January from long range (37.2 and 38.5 percent, respectively), yet he's making 40 percent this month.
While he's playing starter's minutes at 31 per game, Anderson has started only 17 games this season. He hasn't missed one of the Hornets' 57 outings and has been a catalyst when the team has been successful.
In wins this season, Anderson puts up 17.1 points and 6.8 rebounds on 46.3 percent shooting. He knocks down a stunning 45.1 percent in these victories, which are few and far between for this New Orleans team. However, the difference in performance when the team loses suggests Anderson is a major part of their triumphs.
His production dips to 16.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in losses, shooting just 43 and 36.9 percent from the field and from beyond the arc, respectively. Anderson takes more or less the same amount of shots every game, yet he makes less in these defeats.
While these awards are normally handed out to players on winning teams, Anderson's split contributions in positive and negative outcomes points to his value in the rotation.
The Hornets haven't received too much praise this season, but hopefully Anderson's play can be a bright spot in their otherwise disappointing season.
All statistics sourced from ESPN.com.
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