All things considered, the Orlando Magic are in a better position than many had predicted they would be this early in the season. The reason behind that success might surprise even the most astute NBA analysts.
Of course Dwight Howard and his 19.1 points, 16 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks have been MVP-esque but those numbers are somewhat expected. The key behind the Magic’s success this season has been the improved and consistent play of Ryan Anderson.
It has only been seven games but it is Anderson, not Howard, who leads Orlando in scoring at 19.7 points per game. He is shooting a blistering 46 percent from the three point line and his ability to stretch the floor has been instrumental in the success of the Magic thus far. Although he is considered a “stretch four” Anderson still manages to rebound the ball at an impressive rate of 7.4 per game.
Anderson pulled down a season high 15 rebounds against the Wizards and said the following after the game: “Just coming out and rebounding, and going towards the glass as much as I can and keeping that in the back of my mind at all times, I think is a good mentality to have.” He understands that his shot may not always fall but if he rebounds and plays defense he can still be an asset.
Many thought it would be Glen Davis who would be the Magic’s starting power forward to begin the season, leaving Anderson in the same role he provided last season. Coach Van Gundy has elected to use Davis as a primary backup to Howard at center. Much to the chagrin of Davis. While that decision has not worked out for Davis, Anderson is garnering respect around the league and more importantly allowing Howard a reliable outlet when doubled down low.
Anderson should continue to keep Davis away from starters minutes with the Magic off to a 5-2 start. At this rate Anderson could easily win the NBA’s Most Improved Player award and could vie for a spot in the 3 point shooting contest at All-Star Weekend in Orlando.
Potential accolades for Anderson aside, the bigger picture is the Magic’s hot start and the silencer being placed on the trigger of any potential Dwight Howard trade.
The attention has been diverted from the Orlando Magic front office and now is rightfully focused on the hardwood. A large part of that is thanks to Mr. Anderson.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com