There are a lot of reasons to love Ryan Anderson's fit in a system that heavily favors stretch fours now that offensive savant Alvin Gentry coaches the Pelicans.
Draymond Green, Channing Frye and Boris Diaw have all benefited under Alvin Gentry's take on the Princeton Offense mixed with a pinch of Mike D'Antoni's Seven Seconds or Less Offense, an offense that focuses on a point-guard friendly motion offense that takes advantage of good cutting and outside shooting.
The fit seems a tad too perfect. A big man who can stretch the floor and make wide open looks when defenders double down on Anthony Davis, but as Oleh Kosel mindfully points out, there is a lot to be skeptical of.
He came into camp two seasons ago after going through the most emotional night of his life, when his celebrity girlfriend committed suicide resulting in months of grieving. He spent some time in shock, only able to eat applesauce and yogurt for a time, and came into training camp understandably out of shape. Though not initially, Anderson found refuge on the court, but six months after that traumatic evening, in a game against the Celtics in mid January, Gerald Wallace collided with Anderson, causing him to miss the last 51 games of the season and ultimately have surgery on two herniated discs in his neck on April 8, 2014.
Anderson then endured his worst statistical season since entering the league, shooting 40 percent from the field, and a career low 34 percent from behind the arc. However, it was not entirely unexpected.
This fall, Anderson entered camp in the best shape of his career, able to finally solely focus on basketball. Anderson's initial stint in New Orleans started rocky, but now has the opportunity to completely revitalize his seven year NBA career, and at 27 years old, he can shoot his way into a key role for this year's aggressive offense.
His contract comes off the books this offseason, making this an even more pivotal year for the 6'10'' shooting specialist, and with Davis' newly developed three-point shot, one could argue the Pelicans should move his $8.5 million contract in hopes of bringing in a two-way difference maker.
But I'm not so sure that's the wisest move.
Yes, Anderson had a dismal 108.7 defensive rating when on the court last season, and hardly any statistics will prove Anderson's effectiveness as a two-way player.
But besides Davis, Anderson will give Gentry the ability to stretch the floor next to centers Alexis Ajinca, Omer Asik or Kendrick Perkins, all big men who simply can't shoot outside the paint.
With the Pelicans so injured to start, it'll be interesting to see how the Davis-Anderson pairing fairs without Omer and Ajinca.
Gentry previously utilized Green, Diaw and Frye's ability to shoot, and had the luxury of Green's defensive presence and physicality, and Diaw's passing aptitude that made each offense so dynamic, but never has Gentry had a better pure shooter as a big man than Anderson, who can reek havoc on defenses if they choose to double Davis or the plethora of scorers in Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans.
Anderson might not have the defensive reputation like a Green, or the passing of a Diaw, but in a Western Conference filled with so many great undersized players playing down-low, Gentry can use Anderson smartly, taking advantage of lineups that can shoot, with Anderson and Davis' rebounding prowess.
Before injuring his neck, Anderson scored over 19 points per game and shot nearly 41 percent from behind the arc. The Pelicans high-powered offense will run teams out of the gym If he can get anywhere close to that offensive productivity.