Looking for Silver Linings: Ryan Anderson

Published: November 18, 2015

It gets annoying year after year to try and look for silver linings when you expected the Pelicans to be going for goddamn gold all season long. But here we are, watching what appears to be a pile of garbage slog its way to a 1-10 record. But despite all of that there are some positives. Over the next however long (being 9 games under .500 does not lend itself to specific timelines) we’ll be taking a look at some good things the Pelicans have going for them.

Ryan Anderson

In the previous two seasons Anderson didn’t seem like himself. Injuries shortened his 2013-14 campaign to just 22 games. Last season he played in 61, but had his worst shooting season since his rookie year, hitting only 39.9% of his shots and averaging 13.7 points per game.

However, Anderson came into this season in shape for the first time in awhile. And it’s showing in his offensive game for the Pelicans. Something they sorely need given the injuries to Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, Omer Asik, Mayor McCheese, Quincy Pondexter, and the rest of the city of New Orleans.

Last season Anderson was often a ghost on the court for the Pelicans. If his three-point shot wasn’t falling then he was a non-factor in the game. Rather than try and score other ways, Anderson often would just pass the ball instead. This led him to having 19 games where he scored less than 10 points. That’s 31% of his season.

But this year the Pelicans have a very different Anderson. In 11 games this year, Anderson only has 2 games under 10 points (18% of the season). And it’s not just that Anderson is shooting better from deep. Anderson is actually shooting a career low from behind the arc this season. It’s his ability to get shots closer to the basket that is making the difference. 63.2% of all Anderson’s shot attempts have been 2’s this season which is well above his career average of 48.1%. And he’s scoring 52.1% of the time.

The Pelicans have more outside shooting than they’ve ever had before with Gordon, Babbitt, Anthony Davis(!), Holiday, and Dante Cunningham all able to shoot from deep. This frees Anderson up to work in the post and from midrange where there will be more space.

His three-point shooting hasn’t been consistently what Pelicans’ fans are used to seeing just yet, but that will come with time. And when it does he’ll be a very credible offensive threat to take some of the pressure off Anthony Davis.

Defensively…well, let’s not talk about that. We’re trying to be positive.


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