A Few Early Morning Ryan Anderson Tidbits

Published: April 1, 2015

There is a chance that Ryan Anderson makes his return tonight against the Lakers, and even if he doesn’t, odds are that he will be back either Friday or Saturday. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the numbers say we should expect.

The Good

– Anthony Davis is more efficient with Ryan Anderson on the floor, and the Pelicans as a whole are dominant when the two of them are paired together. Davis’s field goal percentage goes from 52.2% to 57.9% with Anderson on the floor and his rebounds per 36 minutes shoot up from 9.4 to 12.0. The main reason that his shooting numbers go up is because he shoots 65.8% within 5 feet with Anderson off the floor and 74% with him on the floor. As you would expect, Anderson creates space and Davis utilizes that space. As for the Pelicans as a whole, they are +3.5 per 48 minutes with AD on the floor and no Ryno. They are +7.8 with both AD and Ryno on the floor. That is dominant, and the numbers were even more impressive last year before Anderson got hurt.

– Ryan Anderson has been a dominant player at home this season. In 28.6 minutes per game, Anderson has averaged 17.2 points, shooting 42% from three, with an overall .591 true shooting percentage. He has basically been Klay Thompson at home statistically.

– The Pelicans are a much better offensive rebounding team with Anderson on the court, as their offensive rebounding percentage jumps from 25.6% to 29.5%. They also turn the ball over less and have a better offensive rating.

The Bad

– Ryan Anderson has been terrible on the road. He is shooting 36% from the field and 27% from three, averaging 12 points on 12 shots.

– Lineups with Ryan Anderson and either Omer Asik or Alexis Ajinca have been awful. Per 100 possessions, the Anderson/Asik pairing is -8.2 points and the Anderson/Ajinca pairing is -11.7 points. Anderson and Cunningham has not been much better (-3.9). Basically, the only big man that Anderson has success with is Anthony Davis. Offensively, the Pelicans are fine as they shoot well and rebound well when Anderson is paired with Asik, but the defense was just terrible.

– When Ryan Anderson has been on the court, the Pelicans assist percentage drops significantly and their defensive rating is simply abysmal. First, the assist percentage, which drops from 61.4% to 53.8%. The change in defensive rating is even more alarming as it goes from 103.6 when Anderson is off the court to 111.2 when he is on the court.

The X Factors

The Numbers basically make one thing abundantly clear – Ryan Anderson has played well this year at home, and he has played well when he is playing with good players. And you know what, good players play better when Anderson is on the court too. The issue seemed to be that Ryan Anderson had to carry a second unit filled with below average offensive talents. When that happened, there were a lot of misses, along with a lot of bad defense.

Of the 1496 minutes he has been on the court, he played 620 with Austin Rivers. He played 324 with Jimmer Fredette and 233 with John Salmons. Spoiler Alert: He isn’t going to be playing with those guys anymore. The Pelicans have upgraded and have Norris Cole and Quincy Pondexter now in their rotation instead. Those guys have helped stabilize the Pelicans defense, as has the fact that they all are simply getting more comfortable with playing together.

Anderson is unlikely to go back to playing 28 minutes per game after returning from an MCL injury. Instead, he will probably get 20-24 minutes, and when he is on the floor, he is likely to be surrounded by better players than he was when he left. He will not be forced to be a #1 option that has to create his own offense as Jimmer and Austin Rivers stand with John Salmons on the opposite side of the floor watching. Not only have those positions been upgraded, but Ajinca, Gordon, and Pondexter are all playing better offensively than they were when Anderson was on the court earlier in the season.

The defense also was already improving before Anderson went down, as Monty finally stopped hard hedging with Ryan Anderson in February. The big concern is Anderson’s home/road splits. It might have been a fluke, or maybe there is something really there. Regardless, the Pelicans are not as reliant on Anderson as they were earlier in the season, where they were basically a 6 man team with a bunch of scrubs playing positions 7-12. They have added 3 major rotation players and a 4th (Alexis Ajinca) has made an enormous leap forward. Anderson is more of a luxury at this point than a guy that they have to lean on. If he is hitting and/or creating space without killing you on the defensive end, then you keep him in the game. If not, then you have plenty of other options now.

Either way, it’s good to have him back.


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