David Andersen

David Andersen's "tough guy" expression is very similar to his "I hope nobody smelled that" expression. (Getty Images)

The Toronto Raptors’ regular season kicks off against the Knicks on Oct. 27 so that gives me 10 days (starting today) to profile the guys I expect to make up the Raptors’ 10-man rotation going into the 2010-11 season. Solomon Alabi, Marcus Banks, Ed Davis, Joey Dorsey, Ronald Dupree and Julian Wright are not part of this group at the moment but that could change later in the season and they’ll get their own writeups if and when that time comes.

Let’s do this in alphabetical order and start with an obligatory writeup of the somewhat mad-scientist-looking David Andersen.

David Andersen, C/PF, 6’11″, 247 lbs.
2009-10 stats: 63 games, 14.1 MPG, 5.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.2 BPG, 0.2 SPG, .432 FG%, .346 3P%, .687 FT%, 12.1 PER

It actually kind of bums me out that this is the first guy I have to write about for this season’s Raptors player profiles. When I learned the news in July that Bryan Colangelo had acquired him from Houston for a future, conditional second round pick and cash, my reaction was puzzlement which quickly turned to despair. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Andersen is anywhere close to the worst player to ever put on a Raptors uniform — Greg Foster has been out of the league since 2003, thankfully — but I really don’t see why the Raptors would want to back up their soft, jumpshooting center with a crappier, soft, jumpshooting center. I mean, it’s not like this formula has brought the team great success up to this point, right?

If you think I’m being a little harsh on Andersen, here’s how Houston Rockets blog “The Dream Shake” described him on the day he was traded: “David Andersen can do one thing effectively: hit the turnaround jump shot. He is amazing at it. But that’s it. Literally, there’s nothing else.” Well, I know that’s what I primarily look for in an NBA center. Who needs post offence, rebounding or shot-blocking? Ugh.

Here’s some statistical evidence of Andersen’s finesse-oriented game: according to 82games.com, 75 percent of his field goal attempts from last season were jumpshots, which is a higher percentage than any player on this Raptors roster had in the NBA last season. Andrea Bargnani tied with Jose Calderon for the second-highest percentage at 74 percent.

On the defensive end, we should probably expect him to grant his opponents a plethora of and-ones since he averaged 4.8 personal fouls but just 0.5 blocks per 36 minutes last season. Andersen played far more minutes than any of the other players with that toxic statistical combo last season — and there’s a good reason for that. While he’s not a particularly good rebounder, he did average two more boards per 36 minutes than Bargnani. Of course, that’s not saying much.

I’m going to close by attempting to say something nice about David Andersen, because he doesn’t seem like a bad bloke — he’s arguably the third-best Australian-born big man in NBA history. And did I mention that he has a sweet turnaround jumper? Because he totally does.