Houston Rockets fans are very much familiar with the strange phenomenon known as “Home Ryno” and “Road Ryno”.
Traditionally, extensive practice time and home amenities allows most players to just be more comfortable on their own court, and hence, they tend to play better.
But with forward Ryan Anderson, since he’s joined the Rockets, the Toyota Center has been the source of some significant shooting struggles. It goes counterintuitive to the very basics of what we call home court advantage, but until just recently, the vast difference between Home and Road Ryno were all too real.
For instance, last season, Anderson shot just 37 percent from the field at the Toyota Center and 33.2 percent from deep, going for only 11 points per game. Even his free throw shooting struggled at home, as he hit 77.3 percent from the line.
By comparison, on the road, Anderson shot 46 percent from the field, 46.6 percent from beyond the arc, and 93 percent from the line, good enough for 16 points per contest. Despite his positive effects on team spacing, Home Ryno was poor enough (as was his defense), that Anderson was occasionally a total liability while playing on his home court.
Anderson started off with a similar differential this season. And though he’s been better this year from a defensive standpoint, no one’s really had any answers for why he continued to play so poorly in his own back yard.
But as the Rockets have rattled off six consecutive victories and look to be getting better by the game as they incorporate Chris Paul more into the nightly attack, something else has happened to help lift the Rockets to their current 17-4, Western-Conference-leading heights. Anderson has started to play well at home.
In fact, he might be playing his best stretch of overall basketball since he’s joined the Rockets. During the Rockets’ current streak, Anderson (who’s missed one of the six with an illness), has looked like his springier self from five seasons ago. He’s gone for 17.2 points and 5.2 rebounds while shooting a robust 56 percent from the field and a scorching 55 percent from deep.
Grouped in with that five-game stretch for Anderson has been three consecutive home victories, and Anderson’s splits over these last three at the Toyota Center are just as blazing. He’s put up 16.3 points and 6 rebounds on 55 percent from the field and 52 percent from three. And though that’s still slightly less than his road splits on this same stretch, he’s finally playing at home how you’d expect a sharpshooter would.
Ryno with 19 points & 9 rebounds in last night's win!— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) November 30, 2017
Watch his highlights ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/JcDMde91MO
Ryan went for 19 points and 9 boards, with 8 of those rebounds, including 2 offensive, coming in the first half. Anderson’s now up to 5.8 boards per game on the season, a full 1.2 higher than his average last year.
With any luck, Anderson can parlay this success at home into permanently erasing the Home Ryno/Road Ryno distinction. An anomaly like Home Ryno can really only be explained as a mental thing, and oftentimes a little success is all one needs to shake the doldrums.
The Rockets have a seven-game home stand on the horizon in about a week, so if Anderson can keep his sweet home-cooking touch, the Rockets have a real chance to continue racking up victories.
And with his game improved this year in almost every facet -- offense, defense, rebounding -- Ryno could be ready to reclaim his status as one the league’s premiere stretch fours.