INSIDE THE ROCKETS
Ryan Anderson: Return to the Rockets is "full circle"
Ryan Anderson approached his media scrum after training camp practice on Saturday as if he was meeting an old group of friends. "It's good to see you guys again," Anderson said, with smiles all around. "It feels like I never left."
Anderson is, of course, referencing his two-year tenure with the Houston Rockets that ended last summer when he was traded to the Phoenix Suns. Anderson found tremendous success with the Rockets, providing quality floor spacing that helped form the identity of the team that would eventually go toe-to-toe with the Golden State Warriors and almost win. After a year of bouncing from team to team, seemingly in NBA purgatory, Anderson landed back with the Rockets this summer. To say he relished the opportunity to return to his old stomping ground is an understatement.
"It's an amazing feeling," Anderson said. "It's an easy adjustment back with this group. The system is obviously the same. Just playing the other day for the first time again with these guys, it's like there's no adjustment period."
While the Rockets haven't formally promised him a roster spot, Anderson was offered a minimum deal with $250,000 being guaranteed money, significantly more than players like Anthony Bennet, Michael Frazier, and Ben McLemore. Anderson also has familiarity with a lot of the players, Mike D'Antoni's system, and the way Houston wants to play so it gives him a real leg up on some of the newcomers. The way things currently stand, there's a strong chance he won't have to sell the condo he bought (and kept) in Houston several years ago.
"This team has, just like when I was here a few years ago, high hopes to win a championship," Anderson said. "The less time I take to get adjusted to the system in the right way, the better. I'm ready to help the team the best I can."
Although, Anderson isn't just satisfied with grabbing a roster spot. After a brutal season in which he only logged 25 games and 322 minutes, he wants to prove to the NBA that he can still contribute to a contender. After being much maligned for his contract and traded to clean up Houston's financial situation last season, Anderson struggled to find consistent roles with both the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat. A tough journey he describes as "humbling."
"Obviously I would like to bounce back from last year," said Anderson. "It feels good to be back with a group that has an identity. I know what that identity is and what the main goal is. I feel really good to be back. That's just how life is sometimes. It's full circle."
Anderson averaged 11.6 points and 4.8 rebounds on 39.6% three-point shooting when he played for Houston. Before signing Anderson, the Rockets had a noticeable hole at backup power forward plus a need for size and floor spacing. Houston isn't a team known to making novelty signings. Anderson will have an opportunity to earn real minutes and play a role if he proves himself viable in training camp.
"My journey has been one of many mental struggles," Anderson said. "Last year was a tough challenge for me. Something that I've never experienced before. It was difficult. I feel very fortunate to be very to be where I'm at right now. To have a chance to play for a great team, to produce, and to do what I can do. This team knows me very well and knows what I'm capable of. I feel very fortunate to be back here."