O.G. Anunoby and the Toronto Raptors suffered a second straight loss as the Miami Heat managed to beat them 112-109. Nick Nurse’s side put up a valiant effort in the second half of the game, but a 21-point deficit proved just too much for them to turn around.
The star performers for the Raptors on the night were Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr, while Precious Achiuwa also put in a big performance by registering 18 points and 11 rebounds. This was the third game running in which the likes of Otto Porter Jr. and Chris Boucher were not available.
Naturally, the burden has been on the shoulders of the starters to get the Raptors past the finishing line. That will continue due to Scottie Barnes’ ankle sprain against the Heat. Everybody needs to step their game up moving forward, Anunoby in particular.
While Anunoby has improved his scoring every year in which he’s been in the league, the Raptors need to see if he can take that leap to stardom in 2022-23. So far, the results have been very mixed, with his finishing inside the arc coming into question.
Toronto Raptors star OG Anunoby needs to improve.
Coming into the season, expectations were that Anunoby would take his game to the next level, and the opening game made it look like he was going to do that. Anunoby put up 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists, one block, and three steals in 38 minutes of action against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Ten of those points came in the fourth quarter, as Anunoby helped the Raptors turn around the deficit and get the win on opening night. As a result, it looked like he was making a strong case for a bigger role within the offense.
The following two games have not been great for him. He put up just 10 points, five rebounds, and one assist against the Nets before mustering 13 points against Miami.
Anunoby’s field goal percentage has also dropped quite a bit in the last two games, as he shot 3-9 vs. Brooklyn and 5-14 vs. Miami. Interestingly, his three-point shooting has been better, as he made 47% of his triples to start the year.
Anunoby is no stranger to starting slow, look no further than last year. That doesn’t excuse what he’s put forth, however. He will be invaluable to this team as a sniper from 3-point range, but a player with his physical tools needs to be more productive in the paint.
The only way to get back in a groove is trial and error, perhaps by switching up what he is being asked to do from a schematic point of view.
Of course, three games is too small of a sample size to make too many grandiose judgments. The hope is that Anunoby improves over the upcoming games. The Raptors need him during a difficult run, with so many of their players out injured.