Toronto Raptors: Best and Worst case scenarios for the rotation bigs

Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby (3) during the game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports) /

OG Anunoby

What new tricks will OG Anunoby show us this year? In 2020-21, the 24-year-old added an improved three-point shot (39.8%, compared to a 37.5% career mark) to his elite defensive game and an offensive dimension that produced a career-best 15.9 PPG.

Now, it seems that he may flash some enhanced ball-handling abilities and shot creation to his growing skill arsenal.

Best Case Scenario

For a player with the lofty ceiling of Anunoby who has also improved in each of his four seasons in the league, it’s tough creating a line between wide-eyed optimism and legitimate, reasonable hope for a best-case scenario.

If the UK native can carry over the same PPG increase he had across the last two seasons, then suddenly he’s averaging 21.2 points and emerges as a bona fide star on both ends of the floor. Who knows, we could be talking Most Improved Player candidacy or Defensive Player of the Year consideration. He might even be the club’s top ‘last shot’ option.

Of course, focusing solely on his offensive development is misguided. Alongside the impossibly long Barnes, the potential is there for a foundational perimeter defensive duo that instills nightmares in wing players around the league.

The Toronto Raptors will lean on OG Anunoby this season.

Worst Case Scenario

Thanks to his defensive calling card and versatile, well-rounded game, even Anunoby’s worst-case scenario (apart from unanticipated injury issues) doesn’t look too bad. An elite defender who can chip in with some secondary offense is a pretty soft landing, even if such an outcome wouldn’t be particularly satisfying for fans of the homegrown 2017 draftee.

If we’re going the buzzkill route, the bigger threat to Anunoby’s development worth considering is how much room will he actually have to grow his offensive game? Siakam will be back soon enough as a primary option, Barnes will need some looks, Gary Trent Jr. is around from day one and Malachi Flynn will probably get an expanded role.

With other shooters around and young players in need of opportunities, will this increased scoring load come?