The Pelican Debrief season reviews have been flowing for the past 10 days with the large group of role players that played significant minutes for the Pelican’s in 2013-2014. In case you missed them they have been: Luke Babbitt, Darius Miller, Jeff Withey, Jason Smith, Alexis Ajinca, Greg Stiemsma, Austin Rivers, Anthony Morrow and Brian Roberts and Al-Farouq Aminu. Today we start a look at what the projects as the Pelicans’ core going forward with a season review of Ryan Anderson.
Stats: 22 games played (14 starts), 36.1 mpg, 19.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.3 bpg, 0.5 spg
Highlight: Really the entire 22 games were a highlight for Anderson who averaged a career high in points, minutes and three-point percentage when he was able to get on the floor. But if you want to find a single game it is hard to overlook the 57 minute, 36 point 6 rebound triple overtime game against the Bulls in early December.
The good: Anderson was insanely efficient in the short time he played this season, posting a True Shooting percentage of 57%, well over the league average, and a 40% mark from three-point range.
The bad: Despite Anderson’s excellent shooting, the closer he got to the rim the worse his shooting percentages became. Anderson shot below 50% when within 8 feet. That’s atrocious for any NBA player.
The Ugly: Anderson’s injuries reduced him to 22 games played last season.
Ryan Anderson has had it rougher than just about any other player in the NBA over the last season. With his girlfriend committing suicide before the season, it was a legitimate question to if he would be ready for the season because of mental health alone. But Anderson rebounded the way only he could. A foundation was started meant to help those who suffer from depression and Anderson entered the season intending to play.
Sadly, his body had other plans for him. Anderson started off the season with a fractured toe which was not ideal for a Pelicans team that was in dire need of his floor spacing and shooting ability off the bench. Anderson was a very popular 6th man of the year pick, and for good reason.
When he finally returned, Anderson showcased exactly what the Pelicans were missing while he was out. His lights out three-point shooting created floor spacing. But the real thing that makes a guy like Anderson so valuable is his rebounding ability. Do not be fooled by his six rebounds per game and his 10% Total Rebound Percentage. These are career lows and most likely outliers that very likely are injury related, though there is no way of knowing for sure right now.
Not many three-point specialists are that great on the boards. Anderson however over his career has been an exceptional defensive rebounder. During the 2011-2012 season when Anderson won Most Improved Player, he improved his offensive rebounding as well. This turned Anderson into a duel threat of three-point shooting and rebounding; something any team would want out of their stretch 4.
When Anderson returned from injury he was putting up fantastic shooting numbers and decent, though poor by his standards, rebounding numbers. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to last. In January, Anderson suffered a herniated disc that sidelined him indefinitely. The hope was that Anderson, after resting the injury, would be able to come back,but unfortunately the injury required surgery, that while successful, would finish his season.
It’s impossible to say how successful the Pelicans would have been had they had Anderson all last season but one has to think they would have been much better. His rebounding and three-point shooting would have been extremely helpful to a team lacking shooters and rebounders outside of Anthony Davis, and the barrage of big men the Pelicans threw out last season. When Anderson did play, he played 36 high quality minutes. A team doesn’t lose a talented 36 minute per game player and replace him easily. We wish you better health next season Mr. Anderson.