Orlando Magic Shooting Month: 5 Magic 3-point shooters before their times

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5 Orlando Magic shooters before their times

Ryan Anderson

The Orlando Magic’s experiments with the stretch-4 continued throughout Stan Van Gundy’s tenure. Almost to an obsession.

Once it was clear how much Rashard Lewis was working, the Magic were hunting for similar backups. That pursuit may very well have cost the Orlando Magic a title when they traded Trevor Ariza (still unrefined as a shooter, but an ace defender) to the Los Angeles Lakers for a defensive-minded wing in Maurice Evans and stretch-4 Brian Cook.

Ariza ended up killing the Magic with his versatile defense in the 2009 NBA Finals. Evans was gone after the 2008 season (turned into Mickael Pietrus with the mid-level exception) and Cook was a bit player for the 2009 Finals team.

Cook was exclusively a 3-point shooter as a 6-foot-9 forward. He was fine as a shooter — 40.0-percent in two seasons with the Magic and 38.2-percent for his career — but not much of an impact.

Really, the biggest change for the Magic came when they acquired Ryan Anderson. In Anderson, they found a stretch-4 they could really press to become the modern kind of player they were seeking.

Ryan Anderson was acquired as a throw-in for the team’s acquisition of Vince Carter. As controversial as that move became, Anderson was a steal for the team and a key player for the team as Lewis sat out the first 10 games due to a PED suspension.

Anderson was a revelation as a true exclusive 3-point shooting power forward. He averaged 11.4 points per game and shot 38.8-percent from beyond the arc in three seasons with the team. He was a player that defenses everywhere had to account for, almost more so than any other player on the team, especially after the trades that sent out Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter in Dec. 2010.

Anderson stepped up for the team at that point. He became indispensable and his 3-point shooting was truly a weapon.

He was probably the most 3-point-specific specialist the Magic had since Scott. He was just a great sharpshooter.