4 lessons learned from Raptors’ surprising run in 2022 Playoffs

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 23: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors leads the team in a huddle (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 23: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors leads the team in a huddle (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /
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OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – APRIL 16: OG Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors goes to the basket past Tobias Harris #12 of the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Before you cringe at the notion that this first-round exit Toronto Raptors squad is close to winning the big time after getting knocked out of the playoffs by a division rival, take a second to consider the strength of this Raptors roster from the top down.

Pascal Siakam cemented himself in these playoffs as an All-NBA talent, Fred VanVleet (while injured) still logged an All-Star season under his belt, and unsung hero OG Anunoby pitched in as possibly the second-best Raptor in these playoffs. That’s a successful year in our books.

That’s two All-Stars and one elite-level role player, and all that before we even say the name Gary Trent Jr. This Raptors squad has the talent and camaraderie to one day contend for a title.

These playoffs taught us that the Raptors have a championship-level “supporting cast” on their hands. Do they have a championship-level team? What else did Toronto’s miraculous run to the postseason teach us about the makeup of this franchise in the future?

4 lessons the Toronto Raptors taught us in the postseason.

4. OG Anunoby is irreplaceable

Anunoby is one of the NBA’s best-kept secrets. A defensive demon who can score 15-20 points without having a single play run for him, OG had some potential All-Star buzz surrounding him over the summer. With the emergence of Scottie Barnes, Anunoby took on a different role.

Due to Anunoby’s exceptional fit as Toronto’s glue guy a la Shawn Marion, it seems more likely than not that he will continue to play a supporting (yet vital) role in the future. Toronto will need to make sure his name is kept out of trade talks as they look to get more talent around him.

OG Anunoby proved himself for the Toronto Raptors.

Make no mistake, OG’s ability to mesh with and play any style under the sun makes his contributions to the Raptors all the more irreplaceable as the team continues to trend upwards. That combination of adaptability and youth is what makes him such a deadly player.

There are plenty of players in the NBA who can adopt a high usage rate and score 20+ points per game, but to do so as the third or fourth offensive option while providing a stout and versatile defensive presence? That, dear readers, is hard to find. He must be held in the highest regard.