Ryan Anderson: Another Reason to Get Excited About the New Orleans Hornets

Ryan Anderson was dealt from Orlando to New Orleans in a sign-and-trade in exchange for Gustavo Ayon.


Nobody in the NBA made or attempted more 3-pointers last season than Anderson (2.7-6.9 per game; he shot 39 percent). He averaged 3.7 offensive rebounds per game, which was more than Tyson Chandler, Blake Griffin and Andrew Bynum, all of whom played more minutes than Anderson. Everyone anticipates Anderson at forward alongside rookie Anthony Davis – which is why the acquisition is so smart. Anderson will float to the perimeter and draw a defender out of the lane, opening things up for aggressive guards Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers to attack the rim. Offensively, this should be a fun team to watch.

Ayon? He’s a 6-foot-10 power forward from Mexico who averaged 5.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last year in 20 minutes a night. Why would the Magic want him? Well, they simply couldn’t afford to keep Anderson, who inked a 4-year deal worth about $34 million. Orlando GM Rob Hennigan probably made a good long-term decision, given the mess he inherited. At $8+ million per season, Anderson will be an expensive (but necessary) specialist for the Hornets; at $8+ million per in Orlando, he would have been a liability. For instance – if Orlando kept Anderson, the Magic would have had $20 million sunk into him, Glen Davis and Jason Richardson over the next two seasons. Tough to build a roster with those limitations.

I’m loving what Monty Williams is cooking up in NOLA:

G – Gordon (they’ll match – they have to)
G – Rivers (rookie)
F – Aminu (Olympian!!)
F – Anderson
F – Davis (rookie)

The bench is a work in progress, and will be for at least another year: Jarrett Jack, rookie Darius Miller from Kentucky, cheap shot artist Jason Smith, and Xavier Henry. Looking ahead to the 2013 NBA lottery, New Orleans will need beef up front to help Davis.

This is all making me feel good about last week’s prediction that New Orleans would just miss the playoffs. Of course, I’m probably getting overly excited about the Hornets, the way I have become infatuated with the Warriors and Wizards the last two years.

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