ANDERSON WINS NBA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER AWARD
Ryan Anderson of the Orlando Magic started 14 of the 64 games that he played last season. With the NBA having a shortened season this year due to the lockout (66 games this year, normally 82), and the departure of Brandon Bass, Anderson took the most of his opportunity, starting 61 games this season, averaging 16.1 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game. This effort earned him the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.
”It’s very surreal for me to be sitting where I am today,” Anderson said. “A year ago if you would have said I would be the Most Improved Player, I’d probably laugh at you in the face. This year has just been a culmination of a lot of different things and a lot of different people helping me.”
Anderson finished in the vote, receiving 260 of a possible 605 points, including 33 first-place votes from a panel of 121 sports writers and broadcasters in the U.S. and Canada. Anderson beat out Milwaukee’s Ersan Ilyasova, who finished second and Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic, who came up third.
This award is no stranger to Magic players’, as Anderson joins Hedo Turkoglu,Tracy McGrady, Darrell Armstrong, Scott Skiles as former/current Magic players to win the award. Anderson’s production has contributed to the Magic earning another playoff berth this season, as well as the sixth best record in the Eastern Conference, with the Magic finishing their season at 37-29. Anderson was averaging 8.6 points per game last season, primarily in part to him coming off of the bench.
Anderson, who was an originally drafted in the first round by the New Jersey Nets (now Brooklyn Nets), was sent to the Magic in a summer trade along with swingman Vince Carter. Anderson’s “magical” season also including him finishing this season as the NBA leader in three points field goals made and attempted, which also included a breakout game against the New York Knicks that saw him score a career high 30 points.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report