The saying for years has been “nice guys finish last” but Ryan Anderson of the Orlando Magic is starting to prove that wrong. Last Friday, the NBA announced that Anderson had snagged the 2011-12 Kia NBA Most Improved Player Award.
Anyone who has spent more then five minutes around Anderson knows he is extremely funny, sincere and in all honesty a great human being. So to see a guy like him win this award, it’s pretty satisfying.
In his fourth season out of Cal, Ryan was drafted by the Magic with the 21st overall pick in 2008.
Anderson started 61 of 66 games this season averaging a career high 16.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
“I really put in the time, I knew I could make an impact so I really put in the hours,” Anderson said.
Anderson the fifth Magic player to win this award (Hedu Turkaglu, Tracy McGrady, Darrell Armstrong, Scott Skiles) received 260 points out of a possible 605 and 33 first place votes.
Milwaukee’s Ersan IIyasova finished second with 159 points and Minnesota’s Nikota Pekovic third with 104 points.
Anderson will be a restricted free agent this summer, meaning the Magic can match any contract offered to him. General Manager Otis Smith and the organization have notified Ryan and his agent they want to keep the forward long term.
“To be honest the biggest improvement has been his opportunity,” Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy said.
You have to think Anderson can be a piece of the “keep Dwight campaign.”
During their first round troubles with the Indiana Pacers, the Magic are showing changes need to be made but Ryan should be a part of the future.