It has become apparent this season that Toronto Raptors stud OG Anunoby has what it takes to be a high-caliber player within the NBA. The 23-year-old forward has demonstrated since his rookie season that his defensive skills are at an All-NBA Defensive Team level, but his offence has taken time to develop.
This season however, Anunoby has shown extraordinary growth on the offensive side of the ball. With career-highs in points per game (15.9), three-point shooting (39.8%), and free-throw shooting (78.4%), it is clear that he is continuing to elevate his game each season.
Anunoby has shown versatility to his offensive game able to use his size and athleticism to take the ball strong to the rim and has a smooth jump shot that he knocks down with consistency.
With All-Star forward Pascal Siakam struggling to find consistency within his game and with his role as the number-one scoring option on this Raptors team, this could be the time to elevate Anunoby’s role.
Anunoby is a picture-perfect fit in Nick Nurse’s system and his increased responsibility on the court may be the deciding factor in bringing the Raptors back into playoff contention next season.
Toronto Raptors star OG Anunoby is Effective and Efficient
While Anunoby has not shown the full extent to his offensive abilities quite yet, he has strung together some fantastic games this season with limited usage. Over his past 7 games played Anunoby has averaged 22.4 points per game, on an incredibly efficient 50.4% from the field, 44.4% from deep, and 90.5% from the line.
These incredible stats highlight what Anunoby is capable of when given the green light to shoot the ball at a higher usage rate.
While this may be a small sample size, this upward trend has been building all season long, and is starting to reach a fever pitch.
If Anunoby can continue his current hot streak into the end of this season, there will be no way of ignoring his potential to become a leading scorer within the Raptors game plan.
OG Anunoby vs Pascal Siakam
As mentioned previously, it’s not a secret to anyone who has watched the Raptors over the past two seasons that Siakam has had his share of difficulties as “the guy” on the Raptors.
Siakam exploded with tremendous success to begin the 2019-20 regular season but after the initial return to play began after the league went on hiatus due to COVID-19, we have not been privy to the same Siakam from earlier that year. Since the return to play, Siakam has shown glimpses of his old self, but has not been able to put together a consistent high level of play.
Being four years younger than Siakam, Anunoby has more time to grow into this role, and can make an impact longer due to his potential for increased longevity.
He has already shown more skill and promise at his current age than Siakam did at age 23, which is a sign that by the time Anunoby reaches his contract year (2025), he could be far more polished and complete player by that point in time.
Anunoby has outperformed Siakam for the majority of the second half of the season, but ultimately, the two are a complimentary duo within the Raptors front-court. Siakam was a fantastic secondary scoring option in the Raptors 2019 title run, playing second fiddle to two-time Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
With his current play style, Siakam would be better fitted to play as a secondary scoring option behind Anunoby as the two could grow into a devastating 1-2 punch for the Raptors.
A Match Made In Heaven
The key factor in the possibility of asserting any player as the focal point in a teams offence, will always lay with the coach. In the Raptors’ case, Nurse and Anunoby go together like peanut butter & jelly. Already the Raptors top defender, Anunoby has thrived inside of Nurses 3-and-D oriented system and has continued to grow within it game in and game out.
By making the switch to have the offence run through the former Hoosier, Anunoby and Nurse would be a perfect fit together in game-planning against any team, and would be in a place to compete each and every night.
As he continues to rapidly increase in output, there is no way of measuring the potential ceiling of Anunoby. What looked to just be a solid defensive prospect, has suddenly bloomed into a potential leading scorer on a competitive squad.
This is a true testament to the heart and dedication of Anunoby. While the remainder of the 2020-21 NBA season may not have any drastic changes in store, don’t be shocked if OG Anunoby makes the leap to stardom next season, taking ahold of the primary scoring role on the Toronto Raptors, not likely to let go anytime soon.