Nick Anderson Dedication
Position: Shooting Guard
Weight: 228 lbs.
Another one of Chicago's finest...Was a standout guard in the NBA, faltered a bit, but came back strong in 1998...It's good to have him back...Most of the world knows, thanks to a Nike commercial, that Anderson wears the number 25 in honor of friend Ben Wilson, who was slain in a tragic shooting...Nick, after being named Illinois' "Mr. Basketball," played with Kendall Gill and Marcus Liberty on the University of Illinois' 1989 squad that made the Final Four...Dominated early after being selected with the 11th pick in the 1989 draft, but it was domination on a terrible Orlando squad that allowed him as many shots as he wanted...Turned himself into one of the better post-up 2/3 tweeners since the glory days of Bernard King...On either block, Anderson backed his way in, was fouled, shot over the defender, passed out, or blew past his opponent and scored...He also developed a good shooting touch that he would learn to rely on to a fault...The Magic picked both Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway in the 1992 and 1993 drafts, forcing Anderson to the third option in the offense...Anderson moved away from the post, which had been cluttered with O'Neal and free agent power forward Horace Grant, and stayed on the perimeter for kickouts...Turned himself into a great defender, and pried into the offensive weaknesses of the newly un-retired Michael Jordan in the 1995 playoffs...His steal in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals was symbolic: the Chicago upstart, a Jordan worshiper and newly anointed young buck of the shooting guard spot, poked the ball out from behind His Airness...Penny Hardaway, the star for the new millennium, picks it up, drives, and dishes to Horace Grant, the former Bull, who slams it as Toni Kukoc flails in desperation...Jordan's inability to bear down at the end of close games, the brilliance of Hardaway, and the fact that Kukoc couldn't guard Horace Grant (even though there wasn't an opportunity for TK to stop that break, I'm generalizing) or Dennis Scott spelled doom for the Bulls, both in that play, and in the series as a whole...The Magic made it to the NBA Finals, where Anderson missed four crucial free throws in the final seconds of Game 1, ultimately giving the Houston Rockets a chance to come back in that game, and consequently, take the series...Nick was haunted by this occurrence, which had happened so quickly after being the hero of the Chicago series, but he didn't show it in 1995-96...Anderson played terribly after Shaq's departure in 1996-97, bothered by wrist problems, his terrible shooting, and a trumped up rape charge that left him crying at a press conference podium...It is my nature to believe the accuser in most crimes, but I immediately deemed Nick innocent after looking at him at that table, tears rolling down his cheeks not as a show of innocence, but as example of the frustration that had permeated the way he lived...He barely played in the 1997 playoffs, and, in what I thought was an idiotic move on the Magic's part, was re-signed to a 6-year, 36 million dollar deal that would pay him through 2002-03...Why would the Magic still want this guy?...We found out in 1998...Anderson started the year like he did no other, playing the worst basketball of his career...The Magic offense gave him shots off of screens anywhere on the court, with most coming from the baseline, and he clanked them all...With injuries to Anfernee Hardaway and the trade of Rony Seikaly, Anderson was all the Magic had left, and he came through...Nick blew up in the second half of the season, averaging close to 25 points a game and almost leading the undermanned Magic to a playoff berth...His play was inspiring, a man who had been through so much, Anderson was dominating every game he played in...His much-maligned free throw shooting improved in the clutch, and at least he was getting to the line...Anderson had been reluctant, with his pitiful freer throw percentage, to drive to the basket and take contact, but he now understood that it wasn't how perfect you are from the stripe, but how many you take...3 of 6 is always better than 2 of 2...1998-99 was a good season in which he averaged 14.9 points per game...He came to Sacramento in a trade for Tariq Abdul-Wahad, a draft pick was also awarded to Orlando in the deal...Next season gives Nick high expectations because he comes to a team that he will walk into a veteran role and must be a mentor for point guard Jason Williams...I can't wait to see how he performs.
(most of this information was taken from www.onhoops.com).
Email us with any comments or suggestions. We will gladly respond to all email.