In the first of many possible offseason moves for the New Orleans Pelicans, a deal was made sending a 2015 first-round pick in exchange for Houston’s rim-protecting big man Omer Asik. Finding a legitimate center was viewed as one of New Orleans’ biggest needs this offseason, so could they already be wrapping up their trading for the summer?
According to to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, they might not be.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2014
Anderson, who was acquired in a sign-and-trade deal with the Orlando Magic in 2012, is one of the best distance shooters in the league, and a former Most Improved Player award winner. Despite only playing in 22 games this past season due to injuries, the 26-year old averaged 19.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and an impressive .409 3-point percentage.
Despite being 6’10”, Anderson isn’t your typical power forward. Instead of banging bodies down low in the post, he’s more suited to finding an open jump shot to take.
In 81 games with New Orleans in 2012-13, Anderson averaged 16.2 points along with 6.4 rebounds. Basically, there will be enough interest for the forward around the league for New Orleans to find a potential suitor.
The only question is, who? Well, the market for Anderson will likely be limited to teams that are looking to be contenders come next season.
Teams like the 76ers, Jazz, and Bucks are already out of the question. One of the reason any team would want to trade for Anderson is his 3-point shooting skills, and there’s several contending teams that could be in the market for a shooter this offseason.
Los Angeles Clippers:
Despite having one of the best seasons in franchise history, the Los Angeles Clippers are still struggling to score from behind the arc. In 2013-14, they ranked 22nd in the league with a .352 3-point percentage, despite taking the eighth-most in the league.
While former Duke star J.J. Redick was brought in last offseason, his .395 3-point percentage still wasn’t enough to fix the Clippers’ shooting woes.
Aside from their lack of 3-point shooting abilities, small forward is one of their biggest positions of need. Midseason signings of Danny Granger, Stephen Jackson, and Hedo Turkoglu are hardly enough to compete in the Western Conference.
Seven-year NBA veteran Jared Dudley looked like a shell of his former self, averaging only 6.9 points per game.
There’s no hiding that the Clippers could use a small forward if they want to be serious competitors next season. While Ryan Anderson may not be brought in as a starting forward for the Clips, but his 3-point skills alone could give them an even better chance to secure the Pacific Division title again.
How strange is it to consider the Charlotte Hornets, once the laughing stocks of the league, contenders? Believe it or not, they are.
Behind Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker, the Hornets were able to secure the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. While that’s not exactly a huge accomplishment, especially in the weaker Eastern Conference, it is for the Charlotte Bobcats.
They’re a team on the rise, and have the potential to be even better if they can improve on several key areas. One of those areas happens to be 3-point shooting.
They ranked 23rd in the league last season, with a .351 percentage from deep. Second year forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist proved to be extremely quiet from behind the arc, shooting only nine 3-pointers on the season, only making one.
While there’s still hope for the former second overall pick, his offensive game is still a liability. Bringing in Anderson from New Orleans could not only improve Charlotte’s 3-point shooting, but give them a legitimate scoring option at small forward (Kidd-Gilchrist is only putting up 7.2 points per game).
Like Los Angeles, who knows if Anderson would take a starting role, or come off the bench as a sixth man. Either way, his scoring can’t be overlooked, along with his rebounding for an outside player.
As far as what New Orleans could potentially receive for the 26-year old, the market is still a little foggy. Orlando moved Arron Afflalo, a 28-year-old averaging 18.2 points per game, to Denver for just a second-rounder and Evan Fournier.
Are Afflalo and Anderson the same player? Obviously not. But maybe it’s a possible gauge for what New Orleans could get back for their talented small forward.