Cool, calm, and reliable on both ends – that’s Toronto Raptors swingman OG Anunoby for you.
The 26-year-old’s consistent performance on multiple facets of the game have made him a sought-after piece in the NBA, yet his name often goes unnoticed, even by the real, diehard NBA fans.
One of the most compelling aspects of OG Anunoby’s game is his versatility. He is the epitome of a two-way player who lets the game come to him. Offensively, Anunoby’s repertoire includes a well-rounded skill set. He can connect from beyond the arc, score in the midrange, and finish strong inside the paint. His ability to attack off the dribble adds another layer to his offensive game. Simultaneously, he showcases his defensive prowess by consistently guarding the opposition’s best player or leading scorer.
Anunoby’s impact on the defensive end is nothing short of remarkable. Aside from his 16.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in the 2022-23 season, he was also the NBA’s top pickpocket by posting league-leading numbers of 128 steals and 1.9 steals per game. Such stats underscore his ability to disrupt opponents’ plays, create turnovers, and provide his team with valuable extra possessions.
Coveted by the Suns and Blazers
Anunoby’s underrated status has not gone unnoticed by contending teams in the NBA. Two teams, in particular, have expressed a keen interest in acquiring his services: the Phoenix Suns and the Portland Trail Blazers.
Sourcey say the Suns see Anunoby as an intriguing addition to their already star-studded lineup, featuring Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and the recently acquired Bradley Beal. Anunoby’s defensive prowess and offensive versatility could complement this scoring trio, providing the Suns with even more defensive stability.
On the other hand, the Blazers have long-wanted Anunoby due to his playing style.
In a recent development, they’ve even contemplated getting him in a trade package for their star, Damian Lillard. However, whether this trade materializes depends on Lillard’s interest in playing in Toronto, Canada.
Time to leave Toronto?
All that, of course, begs the question if OG’s time with the Raptors has come to an end. Despite his impressive skills and contributions to the team, there are valid reasons to consider this possibility.
Firstly, Anunoby forms a solid core with Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes, including now ex-Raptors Fred VanVleet and head coach Nick Nurse. However, their time together as the Raptors’ primary trio may have run its course. Coach Nurse is now with the Philadelphia 76ers while VanVleet has joined the Houston Rockets, signalling a changing landscape in Toronto.
Furthermore, the presence of Anunoby and Barnes on the same roster raises questions about redundancy. Both players share similar physical makeup and playing styles, which could potentially hinder the development of the 22-year-old Barnes.
Lastly, Anunoby still has two years left on his contract that would see him earn $18.6 million in 2023-24 and a player option of $19.9 million in 2024-25 if he opts in. This could pose a financial challenge for the Raptors as they seek to reshape their roster.
Whatever happens, the recent news puts extra eyes Anunoby’s future. He is a stud who is still climbing his peak, so it’ll be interesting to see him enter a new system and roster, one that could perhaps highlight his abilities further. He can easily be an All-Star with all the tools he has.