5 options for the Orlando Magic to bolster their forward depth

Ryan Anderson was a sharpshooter for the Orlando Magic who could get brought back as the shooter the team needs. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Ryan Anderson was a sharpshooter for the Orlando Magic who could get brought back as the shooter the team needs. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Ryan Anderson, Orlando Magic, Maurice Evans, Atlanta Hawks
Ryan Anderson torched the rims for the Orlando Magic in the early 2010s and is available to do so again. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Nostalgia Route: Ryan Anderson

One of the big reasons signing Michael Carter-Williams made sense last year was his experience with everyone in the Orlando Magic’s front office. He played for coach Steve Clifford with the Charlotte Hornets and for general manager John Hammond with the Milwaukee Bucks.

They all knew the Magic needed point guard help after Isaiah Briscoe went down with an injury. They turned to someone they felt could help the team and someone they felt they could trust to jump right in and contribute.

The Magic are not in such desperate straits that they have to find that player to jump in immediately. They can still test a few ideas out. But there are still plenty of veterans that could contribute and plug right in.

A name Magic fans probably still regret trading when he became a free agent in 2012 is Ryan Anderson.

Anderson put in some incredible season for the Magic, averaging 11.4 points per game with a 54.9-percent effective field goal percentage in three seasons from 2010-12. He was quickly a fan favorite. But his real value was he was a stretch-4 that allowed the Magic to play the spread-out game Stan Van Gundy preferred.

Anderson continued for several years afterward to be a tremendous shooter and outside weapon. But his play has tailed off the last three years as he faced various injuries to his back and ankle.

Anderson signed on to a veteran’s minimum contract with the Houston Rockets earlier this year, rejoining a team that he had a ton of success with. But he was quickly waived after appearing in just two games. He hit only one of his five 3-pointers.

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That will be the big thing if Anderson wants to get back into the NBA. Anderson shot 22.5 percent from beyond the arc last year for the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat. Again, injuries played a big role in that drop-off in his shooting percentage.

But Clifford knows as well as anyone just how dangerous a shooter Anderson can be. He was critical to the team’s 2010 Eastern Conference Finals run and became one of the most important players for those late-era Dwight Howard teams.

Anderson having some time off to recover and get healthy could mean he is quietly one of the better free agents for a playoff team to add. Understanding and assessing that health is the most important step in bringing a guy like him in. But his shooting and ability to stretch the floor at the 4 would be extremely valuable to this Magic team.

There are certainly a few other players with familiar names that could help the team at that position too.

The Utah Jazz cut Jeff Green recently after the forward averaged 7.8 points per game on a 47.2-percent effective field goal percentage. Green is relatively solid in several areas. But he is not a great shooter, which would obviously not help the Magic’s biggest need.

If Orlando is looking for a trusted veteran, they could do a lot worse than Green right now.