Before Nick Nurse and the Toronto Raptors were embroiled in the Kevin Durant trade fiesta over the last few weeks, rumors swirled seemingly nonstop around OG Anunoby. Reports suggested that Anunoby was reportedly frustrated with his role on the offensive side of the ball.
Despite a sharp increase in points per game and usage rate last season, there were games in which Anunoby world serve as the fourth or fifth offensive option. For a young player coming into his own, a perceived lack of shots might start to rub them the wrong way.
With Anunoby coming back for another run in 2022-23, the Raptors need to figure out how to somehow blend Anunoby’s desire for more shots without upsetting the apple cart too much. In a SiriusXM interview, Nurse challenged Anunoby to play so well that he forces the issue.
Nurse said that he and Anunoby have had some very good talks about his role in the offense and that he can help the Indiana product get some extra shots. However, he implored Anunoby to “go take some of that.” Nurse may want Anunoby to take some initiative if he wants a more significant role.
Toronto Raptors: Nick Nurse wants OG Anunoby to be aggressive.
The Raptors need to be very judicious about how they go about getting Anunoby extra shots. On top of the fact that Scottie Barnes needs more opportunities to continue his upward ascension, Toronto would be foolish to give All-NBA star Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet a role of reduced importance after the seasons they have had.
However, Anunoby is a quality scorer and shooter that can play the two-guard in oversized lineups and has improved his points per game output in five straight seasons. Relegating him to a defensive stopper is doing everyone involved a severe disservice.
Nurse’s comments sound less like a coach being angry at a player for demanding more shots, but rather someone who is laying out a path to success for Anunoby. While he has improved immensely as a scorer, Nurse and Toronto still think there is more ground to break for him.
Anunoby has largely been kept off-limits in trade talks (seismic Durant move notwithstanding) because of his quality and value to the team. Even though he’s evolved plenty in his pro career, Nurse is right in thinking that there is more fertile ground to pilfer.