Houston Rockets 2016-2017 Season Recap: Ryan Anderson
By Dylan Hennig
May 3, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; Houston Rockets power forward Ryan Anderson (3) reacts after a shot against the San Antonio Spurs in game two of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Anderson was a downtown king this year for the Houston Rockets. Despite a poor postseason run, he served as a key piece to their overall success.
During Ryan Anderson‘s nine-year career in the NBA, he has only shot above 40% twice from three-point land. This past year with the Houston Rockets was one of those two seasons.
Ryan Anderson was simply a dominant offensive force all season. Standing alongside James Harden in the starting line up, Anderson was instant cash from long range. During the intense regular season win against the Warriors at the dawn of the NBA season, Anderson hit perhaps the most clutch shot of the game from the long corner to silence the crowd at Oracle Arena.
That Anderson three point shot epitomized the Houston offense this year. He was a perfect fit for H-town’s philosophy on offense, knocking down big shots on a regular basis. As a big man who can run-and-gun and shoot from anywhere, he was exactly what Mike D’Antoni needed.
Continuing our season recap series, we’ll take a closer look at Ryno’s 2016-2017 campaign.
Next: Stats/overall impact
Feb 3, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) shoots the ball as Chicago Bulls forward Paul Zipser (16) defends during the third quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Anderson had a less than memorable post season, but his three point stroke was outstanding as usual.
Ryan Anderson played the second most regular season games of his career this season (72). He also had the second-best three point percentage of his career (40.3%).
His lethal shooting allowed him to average 13.6 points this season, slightly above his career average of 13.2. He also averaged 5.4 rebounds per contest. As far as stats go, these are the only two categories that would stick out to the naked eye.
One interesting statistic from Ryno’s Houston Rockets debut season was the difference in shooting at home and on the road. In the Toyota Center, he knocked down a lowly 33% of his triples. On the road, however, he shot a blistering 46.5% from deep. Had he shot that consistently at home, he would finished second in the league in three point percentage.
All things considered, Ryan Anderson was rather average in terms of stats this season, but he still contributed to the success of the Houston Rockets. The floor spacing that his presence created allowed Harden to have wide open driving lanes. Defense couldn’t help off of him.
Not everybody on a team can be a superstar. It is important to have somebody on your team who comes every day and just does his job. It is important to have somebody like Anderson.
Next: Best moments of 2016-2017
Dec 20, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) lays the ball up against San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) in the second half at Toyota Center. San Antonio Spurs won 102 to 100. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Anderson isn’t the type of player to create typical highlight reel-type action. However, his season was still filled with fun moments and exciting stat lines.
One of the best wins of the regular season for the Houston Rockets was the aforementioned matchup on the first day of December on the road against Golden State. With two of the most best teams in the league competing, it was already expected to be entertaining.
That game ended up being one of Ryan Anderson’s best of the year as well. He had 29 for the game, but, more importantly, he went on a scoring spree in the last minute and a half of regulation to put the Rockets in optimal position in the close game (the Rockets ended up winning in two overtimes).
Some of the best individual moments in basketball are when a player does something out of character. Like a big man hitting a three or dribbling through his legs, or a little guy blocking a center’s shot attempt. Anderson’s best single moment of the season was a putback dunk (!!!) against his former Pelicans team in March. I fully endorse Ryno putback dunks.
Despite an unfortunately quiet postseason, Anderson did also put in a thrilling 30-footer at the buzzer to end the third in game 4 against the San Antonio Spurs.
Next: Improvement areas for 2017-2018
Jan 2, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) reacts after a play during the second quarter against the Washington Wizards at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Anderson’s biggest problem was his inaccuracy in the postseason. That is a big issue, but he is not too far from fixing it.
Ryan Anderson was a gunslinger for the Houston Rockets this year. He finished with one of the best three point percentages of his career.
He also struggled in the postseason. A lot. Anderson blended in with the crowd far too often and was often a complete no-show at home.
At times, Ryno was abysmal from behind the line in the postseason. During game 6 against the Spurs, Anderson had zero points and also went 0 for 4 for three. This also reflected his very poor shooting from behind the arc when playing at home in the playoffs.
However, Ryan Anderson is not far from the player the Houston Rockets want him to be. He appears as a selfless leader who does his job and a smart basketball player, but he must be more in the moment in the postseason.
Anderson’s lack of performance at home in the playoffs this year could have just been a case of rust or nerves, but nevertheless his statistics and expectations need to improve if a championship is going to be delivered to Houston.
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He has shown an awareness of the issue and has worked to fix it. After game 2 against the Thunder this postseason, he immediately went back out onto the court to put up shots. It’s encouraging to see the willingness to work on correcting the issue.
Other than poor shooting at home and especially in the playoffs, Ryno is exactly what Daryl Morey hoped he would be. He logistically fits into the D’Antoni offense because he is a great three point shooter in a fast offense. It’s a perfect match.
However, Anderson brings more than just three point shooting and finesse. He approaches the game with a high level of IQ and passion and seems to embody Rockets’ culture.
More importantly, Ryan Anderson understands his role in the organization. He comes to work every day and does his job. Not many teams have a player with that set of strengths. The Rockets should be grateful they do.
Next: 4 Rockets named finalists for NBA awards
Anderson is locked in with Houston for three more years, so Red Nation should get used to having him around. If he continues to play like he did this past season, that sounds pretty good to me.