||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2008)|
|Shooting guard / Small forward|
January 20, 1968 |
|Listed height||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Listed weight||205 lb (93 kg)|
|High school||Simeon Career Academy
|NBA draft||1989 / Round: 1 / Pick: 11th overall|
|Selected by the Orlando Magic|
|Pro playing career||1989–2002|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||11,529 (14.4 ppg)|
|Assists||2,087 (2.6 apg)|
|Steals||1,114 (1.4 spg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Nelison "Nick" Anderson (born January 20, 1968) is a retired American professional basketball player. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for two years, playing on the team that reached the NCAA Final Four in 1989. That Fighting Illini team gained the moniker "Flyin' Illini" by Dick Vitale while announcing a game during the 1988-89 season. Along with Anderson, the other members of that team included Kendall Gill, Stephen Bardo, Kenny Battle, Lowell Hamilton, and Marcus Liberty.
Anderson then spent thirteen years in the NBA beginning in 1989, most of them with the Orlando Magic. He ended his career in 2002, and is currently serving the Magic in several off-the-court functions.
Anderson was elected to the "Illini Men's Basketball All-Century Team" in 2004.
|1987–88||33||525||15.9||217||6.6||53||28||37||1107 !11–7||2110 !21–10||NCAA Second Round|
|1988–89||36||647||18.0||285||7.9||72||32||57||1404 !14–4||3105 !31–5||NCAA Final Four|
|Totals||69||1,172||16.9||502||7.2||125||60||94||2511 !25–11||5215 !52–15||2 appearances|
Anderson left school and entered the NBA Draft in 1989, where he was selected with the eleventh pick of the first round by the Orlando Magic. As the Magic were an expansion team that season, Anderson was the first draft pick in franchise history.
Like most expansion franchises, the Magic struggled for several seasons, and as a result were awarded high draft picks in several consecutive years, including Dennis Scott in 1990, Shaquille O'Neal in 1992, and Chris Webber, who was traded for a package including Penny Hardaway in 1993. In his first few seasons, Anderson was the Magic's top scoring option, and led the team in points per game during the 1991-92 season. As the team's talent level increased, Anderson was gradually relegated to a lesser offensive role but remained a consistent member of the team's starting lineup. Exceptions include the April 23, 1993 game at New Jersey, in which he scored a career-high 50 points off-the-bench. In 1994-95, Anderson led Orlando in three-pointers with 179, and averaged 15.9 points per game. The Magic won 57 games, finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference, and won their first ever Atlantic Division title.
Game One of the NBA Finals was against the defending champion Houston Rockets, at the Orlando Arena. With the Magic up by three points late in the game, Anderson, typically a 70% free throw shooter, missed four consecutive free throws that could have sealed the victory for Orlando. Kenny Smith hit a three-pointer for Houston shortly thereafter, tying the game and sending it to overtime. The Rockets went on to win the game in overtime and eventually swept the Magic, winning their second consecutive NBA Championship. As a result of this incident, some Orlando fans began to label Anderson with the derogatory nicknames of "Nick the Brick" and "Brick Anderson".
Two seasons after the 1995 finals, Anderson's career took an abrupt downward spiral, largely due to a sudden inability to shoot free throws, and he even suffered an injury in Game 3 of the conference finals in a rematch against the Bulls and was out for the season. During the 1996-97 season, Anderson free throw shooting percentage tumbled to a career-low 40.4% and his scoring average to 12.0 points per game. Anderson had to be removed from the closing minutes of several close games due to being undependable at the charity stripe.
His struggles worsened through the first half of the 1997-98 season. Through January 27 of that season, Anderson was averaging only 6.5 points per game, and shooting a paltry 36.3% from the free throw line. However, in the second half of the season, Anderson experienced a sudden career revival, as his scoring average abruptly jumped to 22.6 points per game, and his free throw percentage improved to a 67.6%, a figure close to his former career average. He ended the season with a scoring average of 15.3 points per game.
Anderson would play on with the Magic through the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, after which he was traded to the Sacramento Kings. He left Orlando as the team's career scoring leader. He was the last player remaining from the Magic's original expansion roster, having remained with the franchise for ten seasons.
He played two seasons in Sacramento, averaging a career-low at that point, 10.8 points per contest in 72 games his first season. He played 21 games the next season, and 15 games in his final season, in which he played for the Memphis Grizzlies.