The Toronto Raptors are placing a large chunk of responsibility in the post-Kyle Lowry era on the broad shoulders of OG Anunoby, who is quickly becoming one of the more unheralded great players in the game. This may be the year the perpetually underrated Anunoby starts getting the praise he deserves.
On top of the fact that Anunoby set a new career-best mark in points per game while showing that his 3-point shot is as deadly as it has ever been, he continued to show that he is one of the best defensive players in this game, guarding both centers and point guards with regularity.
Bobby Webster has already confirmed that this team will likely build around a three-man core of Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet supplemented by someone like Scottie Barnes. Executives around the league sound bullish on Anunoby’s future in Toronto.
In a poll of 15 NBA executives conducted by HoopsHype, Anunoby came in fourth place on a list of potential breakout candidates, earning 14.67% of the vote shares. Cavaliers point guards Darius Garland topped the list, with Grizzlies big Jaren Jackson Jr. and Spurs forward Keldon Johnson rounding out the top three.
“They’re going to need to find other ways to score and should lean on him more,” said one NBA executive. “I think he had a good year last year in a crazy situation for them having to play in Tampa, which was essentially a 72-game road trip. I think having a sense of normalcy again being back in Toronto will serve him and all the Raptors well.”
Toronto Raptors star OG Anunoby may break out in 2021-22.
Anunoby will get the highest volume of shots in his career this season, as the departure of Lowry, lack of tremendous shooters off of the bench, and his own continued improvement should make it very hard for Nick Nurse to eschew him from his offensive plan of attack.
We know Anunoby can rock the rim and shoot the lights out. The key trait that will determine just how deadly he can be on that end this season is his ability to create off the dribble for himself. If he does that, he could outperform all 3 players ranked ahead of him and make a run at most improved.
Anunoby may not be the flashiest player in the world, and he can be almost comically stoic at times, but every set of numbers that you can crunch affirms that he is one of the best young players at his position, and the decision-makers in the NBA believe he is in for a big season.