In many ways this has been the season New Orleans Hornets forward Ryan Anderson never saw coming.
Now his first year with the Hornets is nearing the end and all the change his life and career have undergone this past year is finally making sense. The NBA’s Most Improved Player a Year ago with the Orland Magic, Anderson has had to adjust to a new team, a much different role and playing behind the franchise-player-in-waiting, 2012 No.1 draft pick Anthony Davis.
And while it’s been an up-and-down season with far more losing than winning, Anderson has oddly found a sensible place for himself in the chaos of another non-playoff season for the Hornets.
“It has been a tough year, I’m not going to lie,” Anderson said recently. “It’s been a really taxing year but that’s because there is so much growth, we have had to put so much work into getting better. It has been that roller coaster with injuries and with different things.
“For us I know this is the best group of guys I have ever played with. Everybody is close and that is so rare. We all have each others backs and that really helps. Obviously, winning is the one thing that is going to solve every problem.”
The 27-52 Hornets may be a couple of years away from any realistic chance of being consistent winners, but the pieces seem to be in place with young up-and-comers like Greivis Vasquez, Eric Gordon, Austin Rivers and Davis serving as the cornerstones of the rebuilding project.
Anderson, who was was acquired last July in a sign-and-trade deal with Orlando, has emerged as intriguing piece in the roster remake. The 6-foot-10 power forward has become the space-creating 3-point shooter the offense has needed, averaging a 16.1 points and 30:36 minutes per game to garner serious NBA Sixth Man of the Year consideration for the 2012-13 season.
All things considered, it’s worked out rather well after Anderson joined the team last summer uncertain about his role and adjusting to life coming off the bench again.
“For me I really felt blessed and fortunate but I also had to put my trust in God and know that he has a plan for me in a different direction,” said Anderson, who is four seasons removed from being the 21st overall pick by New Jersey Nets in the 2008 NBA draft. “I know that it’s going to be just fine. It has far exceeded what my mind had expected here. I am very comfortable with my role.”
But Anderson admits while he understands his role and sees the vision that made Davis the No. 1 overall draft pick last June, it was initially a struggle coming off the bench.
“As a competitor and a player you always want to start but on this team I know my role,” Anderson said. “I’ve learned how I can try and take advantage of that role as best I can.
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