The season hasn’t turned out as well as the New Orleans Hornets may have hoped, but sharp-shooting forward Ryan Anderson has been big for them this year.
Many wondered how Anderson would fit into the Hornets plans given that they selected Kentucky forward Anthony Davis first overall in last year’s NBA draft. But Anderson has appeared to have accepted his role as sixth man for the rebuilding Hornets franchise, and has thrived in this role although he is capable of being a starter on most teams.
Anderson was dealt by the Orlando Magic as part of a sign-and-trade deal that landed him with the Hornets for four years and $34 million prior to the season after having a breakout 2011-2012 campaign that won him the Most Improved Player award, averaging 16.1 points and 7.7 rebounds on the year. Anderson has managed to be just average an impressive 16.5 points and 6.4 rebounds for New Orleans while shooting .385 from three-point range, continuing to build on the reputation he established in Orlando as one of the league’s most dangerous outside shooters.
It remains to be seen just how prominently Anderson figures in the Hornet’s future plans. Davis is clearly their franchise player for the future, and since Anderson doesn’t have the athleticism to play small forward a starting role appears to be out of the question in New Orleans. Given that Anderson is making over $8 million per season, he may be too expensive to keep on the bench for too much longer.
In any case, Anderson has proven that he is worth the lofty contract the Hornets acquired him for last summer. Whether or not he plays out that contract in New Orleans remains to be seen, but if he moves on it won’t be because of any poor play on his part.