Toronto Raptors: 3 players who could have a career year in 2021-22

Toronto Raptors - OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet, and Chris Boucher (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet, and Chris Boucher (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors
Mar 29, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby (3) during the game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

1. OG Anunoby

There’s a reason why OG Anunoby is among those favored to capture the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award in 2021-22. The 6-7 forward seems poised for a breakout in this, his fifth NBA season.

Anunoby began to show signs of taking his game to a new level last season, averaging a career-high 15.3 points. His contributions increased as the season went on, boosting his points per game from 13.8 to 18.3 after the All-Star break.

A big reason for this is Anunoby’s evolving offensive skillset. He is much more comfortable stepping out beyond the arc now and made 2.4 three-pointers per game in 2020-21, more than double the 1.1 he had averaged over his first three seasons.

Anunoby also showed improved ability to take players off the dribble, which should help him more often get to the line, a place he visits far too infrequently.

Anunoby’s performance over four appearances in the preseason did nothing to dissuade these notions. He averaged a team-leading 19.3 points per game. He also had a usage rate of 23.8%, the second-highest on the team.

OG Anunoby is a proven elite defender for the Toronto Raptors.

Already regarded as one of the NBA’s premier stoppers, Anunoby is going to have an even greater responsibility defensively; according to Nurse, Anunoby is “going to be guarding the best players in the league every night because he can do it.”

With contributions at both ends of the floor, it’s easy to see this being the finest season yet from Anunoby, with averages in the neighborhood of 20 points per game, six or seven rebounds, and over three assists, all of which would be personal bests.

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