Raptors in Orlando: Four secret weapons Toronto has for NBA playoffs

Toronto Raptors (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors
OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Raptors playoff secret weapons: OG Anunoby

OG Anunoby might be more well-known if he was present for the Raptors title run last May and June, but he didn’t appear in a single playoff game with Toronto last season.

Anunoby unexpectedly had to get his appendix removed in April which kept him sidelined for most of the season. By the time he was able to play the Raptors were in a groove going into the Finals, and tweaking the lineup with a player who had been out for two consecutive months may have ruined their chemistry.

Anunoby’s quiet, stoic demeanor also makes for an anti-charisma that keeps the spotlight off of his game. I believe Anunoby is a fringe All-NBA player this season, and that line of thought might be more widely accepted if he were more outspoken with the media.

That demeanor tends to carry out on the floor as well. He’s a silent, smooth killer, doing his work in the little places and on the fringes. He’s detail-oriented, fleshing out the borders of the puzzle.

He doesn’t come right to mind for fans or opposing teams when the Raptors come up. Rightfully so, Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet are at the forefront.

Anunoby, though, is a big piece of the team. Fifth in value over replacement at 1.4, he puts up quality advanced stats (fourth in true shooting percentage, third in steal percentage, third in win shares).

Anunoby is more than an advanced stats darling. His defensive effort is visible. Go back and watch any Raptors game and track Anunoby, he’s one of the most consistent and locked-in players on the defensive end. He likens to Kawhi Leonard in many ways.

While his offensive game isn’t a main cog for the Raptors, he is proficient on that end. Averaging over 10 points per game, he shoots 50.7 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from beyond the arc (59.8 percent true shooting).

Anunoby won’t be the primary focus when teams game plan. If Lowry and Siakam are shut down in the postseason — a certain possibility given that teams have game-planned against those players in the past — Anunoby could be one of the first tricks out of Nurse’s pocket.