2013-14 Season in Review: Ryan Anderson
Pelicans.com continues its look back at the 2013-14 season with player-by-player analysis of the team:
NBA experience: Six seasons (two with Pelicans)
Games played/started: 22/14
Over a six-week stretch between mid-November and early January, Anderson played perhaps the best basketball of his NBA career, providing New Orleans with a huge boost that enabled the Pelicans to rebound from a 3-6 start without him. Before and after that 22-game span, however, Anderson endured unbelievable misfortune and adversity.
While injuries were the biggest story of the winter for Anderson, who missed the final 51 games of 2013-14, the tragedy he faced during the ’13 offseason gave perspective to everything that took place basketball-wise. On Aug. 14, Anderson’s girlfriend, Gia Allemand, committed suicide in New Orleans.
“Dealing with some personal tragedies, Ryan’s case in particular, kind of threw the whole organization for a loop and took the focus off of basketball for a while,” Pelicans Coach Monty Williams said.
At Pelicans Media Day on Sept. 30, Anderson was expected to read a prepared statement about Allemand, but instead spoke from the heart about his late girlfriend. He announced plans to begin a foundation in her honor, dedicated to the cause of suicide prevention.
Anderson sat out the preseason opener days later, but was on the floor for the rest of the eight-game exhibition schedule, prior to the Pelicans announcing on Oct. 30 that he had a chip fracture in a toe of his right foot. As a result, he was forced to miss the first nine games of the regular season. In his official 2013-14 debut on Nov. 16, the power forward returned in auspicious fashion, scoring 26 points in 27 minutes and draining six three-pointers.
New Orleans went 12-10 over the 22 games Anderson played, with the long-range shooter and underrated rebounder delivering consistently on a nightly basis. He made at least one three-pointer in every appearance, shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from beyond the arc. His 43.8 percent rate from the field was a sliver shy of his career high in that category.
Unfortunately for Anderson and the Pelicans, on Jan. 3 in Boston, Celtics forward Gerald Wallace accidentally collided with Anderson from behind, causing Anderson to leave TD Garden on a stretcher as a precautionary measure. Anderson and the Pelicans hoped the player’s herniated disc injury would heal naturally with time and rest, but in April he required surgery. His timetable to return to basketball activity is 4-6 months; the latter timeframe would fall sometime around training camp in October.
TOP THREE RYAN ANDERSON GAMES OF 2013-14
#3: Nov. 16, 2013 – Philadelphia at New Orleans
Anderson surpassed all expectations in his regular season debut, immediately making the Pelicans look like a different team by pouring in 26 points. New Orleans raced to a runaway 135-98 victory over Philadelphia, the first of 14 times the Pelicans tallied 100-plus points with Anderson in uniform (out of 22 games). New Orleans’ lead ballooned to 103-66 by the end of three quarters.
#2: Dec. 1, 2013 – New Orleans at New York
After Anthony Davis was sidelined in the first half at Madison Square Garden with a broken hand, Anderson came through with one of the finest games of his NBA career, depositing 31 points in a 103-98 win vs. the Knicks. His single-game career highs at that point were 34 points and eight three-pointers; he nearly matched the latter by going 7-for-11 on three-pointers.
#1: Dec. 2, 2013 – New Orleans at Chicago
The Pelicans and Bulls played one of the most entertaining games of the entire 2013-14 NBA season, a triple-overtime thriller. New Orleans eventually prevailed in the marathon affair by a 131-128 margin, behind Anderson’s career-high 36 points. The forward played an exhausting 56:30 of what turned out to be a 63-minute game, despite it being the second game of a back-to-back for New Orleans. For a second straight night, Anderson went 7-for-11 from three-point range.