Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson is set to return from an ankle injury on Friday against the Detroit Pistons, reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Anderson had been sidelined for five games, during which the Rockets were 2-3.
Houston has already locked up the third seed in the Western Conference, so the significance of this pertains only to the postseason. Assuming nobody gets hurt, the Rockets will go into their first round series with everyone healthy.
In the Western Conference, where their sixth-seeded opponents could be the Oklahoma City Thunder or Memphis Grizzlies, that is vital.
Anderson, who averages 16.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per 36 minutes on 39.8 percent shooting from three-point range, could be a huge piece in either series. He can take Memphis power forward Zach Randolph or Oklahoma City power forward Taj Gibson well out of their comfort zones defensively with his ability to stretch the floor.
With Anderson on the floor this year, Houston is +7.7 points per 100 possessions. With that mark, he is tied with Patrick Beverley as the best on the team among players with at least 30 games. So his impact should not be understated. Though Anderson’s defense is known to be a liability, the Rockets have been marginally better on that end with him on the floor as well.
Anderson will likely slot back into the starting lineup, with Troy Williams moving to the bench.