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Birdman-ia

Andersen soaring for Nuggets

(Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images)
Chrs Andersen shows why he is called the Birdman.
Ask any die-hard Nuggets fan and they will tell you they have become bird watchers this season, rather, birdman watchers. Chris Andersen also known as “the Birdman” for his Superman like hops, has fans anticipating his every move. A word to the wise, don’t blink, go to the concession stand or run to the restroom when Andersen enters a game because a highlight is never far away.

Nuggets opponents better also be on the look out for Andersen. He has become a very important piece and integral part of the Nuggets success this season. Nuggets center Marcus Camby and Andersen are the reasons why the Nuggets are leading the entire league in blocked shots. Individually, Andersen ranks fifth in the league in blocked shots with 2.6 per contest. This season, Andersen has seven games in which he has blocked three or more shots and two games of seven blocked shots through 12/5/03.

Andersen’s play has also helped the Nuggets’ running game. At 6-10, 220 he gives the Nuggets an athletic big man, who runs the court well, rebounds and blocks shots. By blocking a lot of shots, the Nuggets are able to get out and run, and run they have. The Nuggets also lead the league in fast break points and are ranked fourth in the league in points per game at 97.2 which is way up from last season’s average of 84.2 points per game.

Andersen who arrived from the National Basketball Developmental League two years ago is night and day from the player that had fans scrambling for their programs to see who the “new guy” was. His long summers in the practice court are paying dividends as he went from being a part-time player to a big time contributor off the bench for the Nuggets this season.

Along with his ability to block shots, Andersen has also won his way into the hearts of Nuggets fans with his super-human jumping ability and his spectacular dunks. His dunks are becoming regular highlights on Sportscenter including a dunk he had against the Milwaukee Bucks on November 19th, which ranked #1 on the “Plays of the Day” segment.

Andersen’s athletic play along with his friendly personality has won over Nuggets fans old and young alike. He is a guy you can root for. Like many of us, Andersen has endured setbacks in his life but his determination and hard work have made him both the person and player he is today. So it may have taken some time but the birdman is soaring now.