3 players Raptors star O.G. Anunoby will kick off All-Defensive team

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 14: OG Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 14: OG Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
1 of 3

The Toronto Raptors and their fans have been preaching the All-Defensive team gospel of O.G. Anunoby for years now, but even their most impassioned pleas can fall on deaf ears. Anunoby has had the perfect confluence of circumstances that have prevented him from getting such notoriety.

Missing tons of time due to injuries in the last few seasons, lacking a flashy personality and play style that can spread over social media, and lacking counting stats that some voters base their All-Defensive rankings on have all led to No. 3 getting continually passed over.

That could change in 2022-23. On top of the fact that Anunoby entered Friday leading the NBA in steals per game at 2.9 while helping command one of the best team defenses in the league. Forcing Trae Young to commit 10 turnovers in a win against the Hawks has Anunoby saying that he is the league’s best defensive player.

Even if you don’t subscribe to that notion, it’s becoming nearly impossible to suggest that O.G. is anything less than an All-Defensive Team-level player. He’s been so good this year that he could knock these three honorees from last year off the team.

3 All-Defensive players O.G. Anunoby is outplaying.

3. Matisse Thybulle

The fact that Anunoby does not have one All-Defensive nomination but Thybulle has two remains one of the great crimes in recent award voting history. Even for someone billed as a defensive specialist in college, Thybulle is nowhere close to O.G. right now in multiple areas.

Thybulle, who has fallen almost entirely out of the 76ers’ rotation, has never had steals per game numbers anywhere close to what O.G. is doing right now. Even though Thybulle ranked high in deflections per game, Fred VanVleet has had him beet here the last two years, while Anunoby topped him in 2020-21.

Toronto Raptors: O.G. Anunoby far exceeds Matisse Thybulle.

While 76ers fans might think that listing Thybulle as a guard could help sneak him onto the team, listing O.G. as a guard might actually help his case. The Raptors allow just 0.97 points per possession when he lines up as the 2-guard, and they score 1.31 points per possession. O.G. is absolutely tearing it up as a guard.

While Thybulle is undoubtedly a solid defender with potential, is it fair to assert that no one is staying up late at night worrying about what they are going to do when Thybulle steps on the court? Anunoby has clearly leveled up, and that improvement should take him over Thybulle in the minds of the voters.