Ryan Anderson Wins Most Improved Player Award
Not like many people probably care, but today it was announced that Ryan Anderson of the Orlando Magic has won this year’s NBA Most Improved Player Award.
Anderson averaged 16.1 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game, shooting 43.9% from the field this season. He made 42% of the three pointers he attempted this year, which was a league best. No other player made a higher percentage of three pointers they shot. He also finished the regular season with an 87.7% free throw percentage. He is a very impressive shooter especially when you consider how tall he is. Anderson stands 6’10."
But wait … Who the heck is Ryan Anderson?
He is a California kid, having attended high school at El Dorado Hills. He went on to play college ball at Cal where he averaged 21.6 ppg in his last season before declaring for the draft in 2008. His 21.6 ppg was the best in the Pac-10 that year; better than the likes of O.J. Mayo and Kevin Love (the NBA’s Most Improved Player last season) who were also in the conference.
Anderson was then drafted by the Nets in 2008 as the 21st overall pick but in 2009 was traded to Orlando in a package deal involving Vince Carter.
This season, Anderson’s statistics shot up and so did his minutes. He played an average of 10 minutes more per game this year over last and increased his PPG by more than 6 points. He ranked 25th in the league overall in PER. (PER, Player Efficiency Rating, is a measure of per-minute production. Lebron James was #1 in PER this season with a PER of 31.7. Anderson’s PER was 21.2, only .5 behind Dirk Nowitzki’s 21.7.)
Anderson beat out Ersan Ilyasova of the Bucks and Nikola Pekovic of the Timberwolves to win the award. Many critics and sportswriters are attesting that Ilyasova and Pekovic were better candidates but Anderson won because his team made the playoffs.
All I know is, if Jeremy Lin hadn’t suffered a season-ending knee injury, Lin would’ve given Anderson a run for his money.
Questions or comments?? Get at me Hoopsvibers!
Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithallison/5417838194/