After finishing with one of the worst records in the NBA last season, the Toronto Raptors are looking to climb back up the Eastern Conference standings in 2021-22. That will require a number of players to step forward and assuming a larger role as the post-Kyle Lowry era begins. At the top of that list is forward OG Anunoby.
The 24-year-old continued to progress in 2020-21, when he put up career highs across the board, but was limited to 43 games because of COVID-19 issues and a calf injury.
Heading into his fifth season, Anunoby is being talked about as a favorite to win the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award in 2021-22.
A recent HoopsHype poll of 15 NBA executives placed Anunoby fourth in the NBA for potential breakout players. He received 14.67% of the vote, trailing only Cavaliers point guard Darius Garland, big Jaren Jackson Jr. of the Grizzlies, and Spurs forward Keldon Johnson.
Toronto Raptors stud OG Anunoby still has room for growth.
It speaks volumes about Anunoby’s ceiling that many feel he still has that much more room to grow. He is regarded as one of the best defenders in the NBA, but the other parts of his game are starting to take shape.
Anunoby is now contributing more offensively as he becomes more of an outside threat, averaging 15.9 points and 2.4 three-pointers per game in 2020-21. Both of those figures are close to double his career averages coming into last season.
Winning the Most Improved Player award would validate Toronto’s belief in him. Since drafting the Indiana alum 23rd overall in 2017, the Raptors have invested a lot into Anunoby, who himself has been putting in the work.
But considering he’s already a pretty good player, who can’t really get that much better than he is now on the defensive end of the floor, it’s going to take a special season for Anunoby to make even further substantive advances in his game.