There's plenty going on in Orlando this winter, with the All-Star game coming to town and the daily Dwight Howard rumors. Much less attention has been paid to power forward Ryan Anderson, whose 16.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG and 43% three-point shooting are all career highs. His 74 three-pointers made coming into Friday led the league. He'll be a restricted free agent at season's end.
Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel takes a look at the development of the 6-foot-10 power forward in his fourth season.
He'll be showing off his long-distance shooting in the three-point contest at All-Star weekend, but Schmitz notes how he, at the behest of coach Stan Van Gundy, has become more of an all-around player.
Van Gundy laments not playing him more last season, when Anderson split time with Brandon Bass.
"We didn't have any doubts that he could do what he's doing offensively. He's exceptional," the coach said. "The only other guy in the league that can stretch a defense and grab offensive rebounds like that is Kevin Love. Ryan has some unique abilities."
Anderson, making $2.24MM this season, would be unlikely to accept a qualifying offer of $3.23 million from the Magic this summer. It's more likely the Magic, who opted against signing Anderson to an extension before last month's deadline, will have to shell out significantly more to keep him. According to Basketball Reference, his career numbers coming into the season (which exclude his hot start this year) were similar to those of Al Jefferson, who's making $14MM this year, and Anderson Varejao, who's earning $7.7MM. Love, to whom Van Gundy compared Anderson, recently signed a four-year extension worth a total of more than $60MM.
Regardless of his precise market value, it's clear Anderson will be at or near the top of the list of free-agent power forwards come July.