Ryan Anderson, Phoenix Suns
You may be thinking to yourself, “Wait, the guy that the Rockets signed to a crazy lucrative contract, played him sparingly throughout the 2018 playoffs, only to ship him off to the Suns the next season played for the Nets?”
Short answer: Ryan Anderson was drafted by the New Jersey Nets in 2008 out of California. The Nets saw the potential. He was a good 3-point shooter and rebounder in college in his two years with the Golden Bears. In his one year with the Nets, he showed just that.
He was able to spread the floor and crash the glass fairly well as a rookie, playing well off Brook Lopez’s low-post game. He also had a budding chemistry with Lopez.
Imagining a lineup with Lopez and Anderson today be strange given that both these bigs are not the best defenders and they both now mostly work around the 3-point line.
With the Nets, he averaged 7.4 points and just a bit under five rebounds in 66 games.
As part of the trade that sent Vince Carter down to the Magic for Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston and Tony Battie, Ryan Anderson was seen as an afterthought. However, he continued to improve every year, earning himself Most Improved Player honors in 2011-12 with the Magic.
When healthy, Anderson is a microwave scorer that can change the game on the offensive end. However, he has been haggard by recurring injuries since 2013, missing a good chunk of games during his time with the Pelicans and Rockets.
He is currently on the Suns, where he is learning to embrace a new roll coming off the bench. In an early season interview Anderson said:
"“I’ve had my opportunities. I’ve had a lot of success in this league. There’s a time you kind of take a step back and realize what’s better for the group, what’s better for the team.”"
While he may not be getting big minutes, he is still getting paid the big bucks thanks to the large $80 million contract the Rockets signed him to in 2016.
He is still trying to get into rhythm this early in the season, only averaging 4.5 points a game, but he has cracked the starting lineup for the Suns by doing the little things.