Ryan Anderson impresses in Orlando debut; Other news and notes from Day 1 at the Orlando Pro Summer League

Ryan Anderson got off to a rough start in his first game as a member of the Orlando Magic, going 0-for-6 from the field in the first half of Orlando’s 88-77 loss to Oklahoma City. But by the time the dust settled and the final horn sounded, Anderson’s stat line – 21 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 37 minutes played – was hard to argue with. After shaking off some initial rust and a slight case of nerves, Anderson looked exactly like the player Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy have been raving about since he was acquired as part of the Vince Carter trade on June 25. Anderson hit the three-ball (2-for-3 in the second half), showed off his ball-handling skills and even took the ball to the hoop with authority. To be honest, he looked like a young Hedo Turkoglu. Now I realize that it’s summer league and the Magic lost, but the summer has very little to do with wins and losses. The week of exhibition games is all about evaluating talent and finding out just who is ready to step up from bench player to legitimate contributer. In the past, the Magic have used the summer league to prep players like Courtney Lee, J.J. Redick and Marcin Gortat for more significant roles on the team. This year it’s Anderson’s turn. Orlando clearly sees Anderson as a very important piece to the puzzle, and his inclusion in the Carter trade made the whole deal possible. Of course it also helped guarantee Courtney Lee’s ticket out of town, and for that reason, Magic fans already seem to hold a grudge against Anderson. Anderson is a very smart and engaging player who spent a full 20 minutes asking questions following today’s game. That’s not something he had to do, but chose to do since it was his first public appearance as a member of the Magic. Media members were surprised at Anderson’s candor, mainly because just like Magic fans, they have been skeptical about a rather unknown player. As the week wears on, Magic fans will get a chance to see more of what Anderson has to offer, and if they give him a chance, they might actually like him. Other notes from the first day of summer league:

  • Plenty of famous faces were in the crowd on Monday, including Dwight Howard, Carter, Marcin Gortat, Danny Ainge and Larry Bird among others.
  • Patrick Ewing served as coach of the Orlando team, and elected to play just nine of the team’s 15 players
  • Among those who didn’t play were European big men Milovan Rakovic and Steven Milosevic, who were both in street clothes. In an exclusive interview with OMD, the players said a paperwork snafu between FIBA and the NBA kept them off the court.
  • Both players were hopeful that they would be able to play in Tuesday’s game against the Boston Celtics
  • Jeremy Richardson, who spent the entire season on Orlando’s roster, finished the game with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Be sure to check OMD throughout the week for more coverage from the Orlando Pro Summer League.
  • Philip Rossman-Reich

    About Philip Rossman-Reich

    Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily