Raptors rival believes OG Anunoby could make star leap in 2023

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 16: O.G. Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 16: O.G. Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

For the last handul of seasons, the Toronto Raptors have seen OG Anunoby perpetually ranked as one of the most underrated players in the league. Not only is he an elite defender who was finally recognized as such, but his offensive game and scoring output continue to improve.

Part of the reason that Anunoby was in the rumor mill quite frequently last season before things died down was his reported frustration with his role on the team. The former Indiana star seems like a prime candidate to explode as a scorer if he went to a situation that afforded him more opportunities.

The Brooklyn Nets gave Mikal Bridges, who was limited to a 3-and-D role with the Suns, a larger platform following the Kevin Durant trade, and he responded by averaging 26 points per game with his new team. In a wide-ranging appearance on Paul George’s “Podcast P” show, Bridges believes Anunoby could do the same.

“I think OG’s not even really too much (of a role player),” Bridges said, “I think he’s already kind of surpassed that role-player type. But if you give him a role (like mine) — 100 percent.” That is quite high praise coming from a division opponent and fellow play-in contender.


Mikal Bridges thinks Toronto Raptors SF OG Anunoby could break out.

While Bridges looks like a better ball-handler and half-court creator right now than Anunoby, both of them are terrific shooters who can hold their own when it comes time to finish at the rim. No wonder Anunoby is frustrated with often going into games as the fourth scoring option.

Considering that Anunoby trade rumors have died down despite the fact that both Gary Trent Jr. and Pascal Siakam are free agents at the end of the season, Masai Ujiri seems to be silently hinting that he is extremely bullish on Anunoby and his potential.

With Fred VanVleet now a member of the Rockets, Anunoby will likely get a few extra shots to his name as No. 23’s offensive responsibility gets allocated elsewhere. Could Darko Rajakovic be the first coach to squeeze 20 points per game out of OG?

An Anunoby-led future that also features Scottie Barnes and Gradey Dick as supplementary pieces may not be the future everyone had in mind, but it will come to fruition if Ujiri has his way. If Bridges proves to be prophetic, Anunoby could be in line for a major bump in production.

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