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Anderson the star of the day
by John Denton / July 8, 2009

Ryan Anderson - Steve KylerWhen the New Jersey Nets insisted that Courtney Lee be included in the blockbuster trade involving Vince Carter two weeks ago, the Orlando Magic were equally adamant that Ryan Anderson also be a part of the deal.

And when Magic fans who had grown emotionally attached to Lee following his promising rookie season howled about his inclusion in a trade to New Jersey, coach Stan Van Gundy insisted that the sweet-shooting Anderson will be a key contributor next season.

In Tuesday’s Day 2 of the Orlando Pro Summer League, Anderson proved that he is much more than a ``throw in’’ in the Carter trade.

Anderson had a dazzling 33-point, 14-rebound effort in Orlando’s 85-82 defeat of the Boston Celtics. The 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward did little wrong in the game, making 12 of 15 shots, hit both of his 3-pointers and nailed all nine of his free throws. He grabbed seven offensive boards, burned Boston’s big lineup for 18 first-half points and beat the Celtics on the low block when they opted for a smaller lineup to stop his pick-and-pop plays.

So after his stellar performance on Tuesday, Anderson laughed at the notion that he was the forgotten man in Orlando’s trade that landed them Carter, an eight-time all-star, and the slender forward from California.

``Of course, this is a Vince Carter trade because he’s a veteran in this league, an all-star and a guy I look up to a lot. But for me, I don’t feel overlooked at all because I know what the coach wants from me and he really likes me in this trade,’’ Anderson said. ``(Van Gundy) thinks I can fill a void, so I’m not looking at it like I’m overlooked. Also, I’ve always been overlooked my whole life, so it’s not really something that bothers me.’’

Anderson’s 33 points were one shy of the Orlando Pro Summer League record of 34 set by former Magic guard Travis Diener in 2006.

Here’s a look at the studs and the duds from the other three games on Tuesday:

GAME 1: Orlando Magic 85, Boston Celtics 82

STUDS: Anderson was a one-man wrecking crew, especially after Magic regular Jeremy Richardson went down early in the first half with a sprained ankle. He torched the Celtics for two 3-pointers in the first half on pick-and-pop plays. And remarkably Magic coach Patrick Ewing ran the offense through his 21-year-old big man late in the game, regularly pounding the ball inside to him for tough layups in traffic.

The Magic plan to use Anderson as Rashard Lewis’ backup at power forward. And this time there will be very little drop-off in shooting range when Anderson is in the game and Lewis is resting or switched back to small forward.

``He gives us the ability to stay the same with Rashard and Ryan in the game,’’ Magic general manager Otis Smith said. ``He has the ability to stretch the floor and shoot the 3-pointer. He gives us another power forward who can really shoot the ball.’’

DUDS: Boston president/GM Danny Ainge has been openly infatuated with Robert Swift for years, but the center has shown very little so far for the Celtics in two games. In 41 minutes, he’s made three field goals and grabbed just four rebounds. He did block four shots on Tuesday, but he’s hardly done enough to earn a training camp invite.

The same might be said for Gabe Pruitt, who still looks somewhat uncertain at point guard. Boston has no plans of bringing back Stephon Marbury and wants him to be the backup for Rajon Rondo (a Boston assistant coach this week), but Pruitt hardly looks like he’s ready to run an offense with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace.

GAME 2: Utah Jazz 83, New Jersey Nets/Philadelphia 76ers 68

STUDS: Power forward Josh Duncan, another rugged Xavier product, has been one of Utah’s lone bright spots in two games so far. He’s made 10 of 13 shots in two games (five of six on Tuesday) on a Utah team that is shooting 38.9 percent so far. He’s proven to be fearless in attacking the rim and clearly doesn’t shy away from contact.

Chris Douglas-Roberts is well aware that the chance of a lifetime is there for him in New Jersey with Carter being shipped to Orlando this summer. He’ll hit training camp in October competing with Courtney Lee for the starting shooting guard slot. He showed Tuesday that he’s grown his game, scoring 27 points. Not only did he make eight of 14 shots, but he also played aggressively enough to get to the free throw line 13 times.

DUDS: Eddie Jordan is new on the job in Philadelphia and he isn’t exactly thrilled about the setup of the combined team between the Sixers and Nets. And he’s even more puzzled by the play of center Marreese Speights, who is showing little restraint in jacking up shots. He missed nine of 12 tries on Tuesday and he’s just 14 of 38 in two games so far.

GAME 3: Indiana Pacers 91, Oklahoma City Thunder 88

STUDS: Many have questioned the potential of Indiana big men Tyler Hansbrough and Roy Hibbert, but the two have been the summer league’s best duo so far. Hibbert had 24 points and eight rebounds on Tuesday, while Hansbrough contributed 23 points off the bench.

There was a bit of controversy at the end of the game when Oklahoma City’s D.J. White was whistled for an offensive foul with 2.3 seconds remaining in a game tied at 88-all. Because it was White’s eighth foul, a technical was assessed and Hansbrough was picked to shoot two free throws. The four-time college All-American and national champion from North Carolina calmly hit both shots to win the game.

``I wasn’t feeling that much pressure until they stopped the game and had that little dispute,’’ said Hansbrough, who made six of 10 field goal attempts and nine of 10 from the free throw line. ``I just had to go up there and make them.’’

Hansbrough also made two 3-pointers, a facet of his game few knew he had coming into the NBA. He said he worked on hitting 250 3-pointers a day in the weeks before the NBA Draft, and it is a shot he’s comfortable taking now.

Oklahoma City star rookie James Harden, the No. 3 overall pick in the NBA Draft, had a wide-open 3-point try from the top of the key to win the game, but his shot came up short. Harden scored 19 points and repeatedly made the right decision in pick-and-roll sets, but missing the final look bothered him immensely.

``It was a wide-open look and I’ve got to knock those down,’’ Harden said. ``it looked good, it felt good and it was straight, but it was short. I was glad coach had the confidence in me to draw up that play.’’

DUDS: Indiana’s Josh McRoberts continued to impress with his athleticism and all-around skill, but a nasty ankle injury left him on crutches after the game. His availability for the rest of the week is in serious jeopardy.

Oklahoma City’s White looked too small and not athletic enough against Hansbrough and Hibbert. He missed eight shots and committed eight fouls in 31 minutes.

John Denton has contributed to HOOPSWORLD for three seasons. He’s covered the Orlando Magic and the NBA for 11 years.