Phoenix Suns: Ryan Anderson Was an Unsung Hero in First Win

Phoenix Suns forward Ryan Anderson was impressive in his first game even if his stats weren’t great.

When you think of Phoenix Suns forward Ryan Anderson, you normally think of his shooting first. He’s a career 38.1 percent shooter from beyond the arc and opposing players know not to leave him open. As for his defense, it’s not something that you would consider a positive, at least in his last few seasons.

During Phoenix’s opening night win, though, he didn’t hit any three-pointers and still managed to impress me. The reason? His effort on both ends of the floor.

One play, specifically, that stood out to me came when Dallas had cut the Suns’ lead to four midway through the fourth quarter. Trevor Ariza missed a three-pointer immediately after and things seemed to be slipping away from Phoenix. If Dallas got the board, they could have cut the lead to a single score — but that didn’t happen. Instead, Ryan Anderson, who had just checked in, flew in for his third offensive rebound of the game which led to a Devin Booker three-point shot. Anderson’s offensive rebound and Booker’s shot was a big sigh of relief for fans because it really felt like disaster was setting in.

Phoenix outscored Dallas 25-4 after Ryan Anderson’s rebound.

In total, Anderson finished with a plus-22 point differential against Dallas in just 24 minutes. He only shot four times but managed to grab seven rebounds, dish out three assists, and play solid defense. The most impressive stat for the 30-year-old NBA veteran was that he had as many offensive rebounds as the rest of the team combined.

He played hard throughout and never seemed like a liability. Sure, he wasn’t guarding Luka Doncic or anything but before the season, I expected him to struggle on defense.