Sunday, March 1, 2009

Under-appreciated Role Player: Chris "Birdman" Anderson

In what's sure to become an incredibly irregular segment, here's "Under-appreciated Role Player", where I examine someone random who contributes to his team more than you'd think, and doesn't really get the credit.

Chris Anderson - Denver Nuggets F/C

After a complex history of disappointments, both with his slam dunk contest hilarity of 2005 and his expulsion from the NBA in early 2006 due to drug abuse, Chris Anderson has turned out to be a solid piece of the Denver Nuggets.

In a little under 20 minutes per game, Birdman is averaging six points, five boards, and more than two blocks. Using Hollinger's PER metric, his 18.32 matches Carmelo Anthony's, mainly because of his above-average blocking and offensive rebounding rates.

This isn't to say he's as good as 'Melo (he's not), but that in his limited minutes Anderson is an important spark to the Nuggets' second unit, a unit which has helped Denver surge into that second tier below the Lakers in the west with the Spurs.

Anderson's high-flying style is a great fit with the Denver style, providing little drop-off from Kenyon Martin and Nene. Not bad for a guy that only went to junior college and came up through the Chinese and International Basketball Leagues.

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