The trade with New Jersey, a bold move for a team coming off an NBA Finals appearance, grabbed headlines the day before the June draft. Would Carter round out the Magic into true championship form?
But lurking inside the trade was an extra piece that Magic coach
The name isn't instantly recognizable, certainly not like Carter's. But the second-year forward just might emerge as the Magic's secret weapon this season -- one of many who surface in the NBA every year. They're the players who don't get the attention and remain anonymous during preseason speculation, but end up playing a vital role in their team's success. And Anderson has all the markings of that player for Orlando.
He is still largely an unknown, yet he led the Pac-10 in scoring as a sophomore at California with 21.1 points per game. The guys immediately behind him --
Now look at how he complements the Magic's lineup. Orlando lacked a power forward who could pull defenders out of the paint whenever Lewis left the game last season, making it easier to double-team Howard. Anderson has the size to operate in the paint, but will also benefit from all those double teams as a kick-out option on the perimeter. If he can hit those shots consistently -- as he has already proved capable of doing -- teams may have to think twice about doubling down on Howard, freeing up the Magic's leader to operate more effectively.
And that is what could make Anderson a key weapon in Orlando's arsenal.
"When Rashard came out of the game and we went to the bench, we really had to play a different way," Van Gundy said in a press conference introducing Carter. "Now you get a guy who can really stretch the floor, and so I think it gives us even more flexibility. ... We can play the same way."
Anderson isn't the only overlooked asset poised to blossom this season. Some others who could emerge: