The 2021 NBA season is close to starting which means the Raptors are going to have a shot to make it back into the playoffs. The team needs a strong player to carry them to success after losing their star player in the trade.
OG Anunoby is that player.
After losing their star player, Kyle Lowry, the Raptors are going to be struggling to find a new leader. OG Anunoby has proved during his time playing for the team that he has the potential to be the new star player on the Toronto Raptors.
Anunoby was drafted in the first round, 23 pick overall. He came from playing college basketball in Indiana from 2015-2017. Picking him early in the draft was a very smart long term move by the Raptors. He was drafted when he was only 20 years old and now at the age of 24 has improved so much.
Anunoby is entering his fourth year as a Raptor and is part of the starting line-up. In the 2020-21 season Anunoby averaged 15.9 points, according to ESPN, which was the fourth highest on the team. The three players ahead of him all played more games than he did. Being 6’7 and having a wingspan of 7’2 makes it difficult for other players block his shots.
Anunoby is not a player who freezes under pressure. The best example of this was the buzzer beater shot in game six against the Boston Celtics, winning the game for the Raptors. When he was asked if he took this shot thinking it would go in, he said, “I don’t shoot trying to miss.” He manages to keep calm and even described the feeling of making this winning shot as “cool” in his post-game interview.
It is essential to remain calm under pressure. In high intensity games anxiety can ruin it for a team. Having someone with a calm demeanour can help influence a team to play their best no matter the situation. This skill is so important for the future of the team and Anunoby is the best to teach this.
Not many players can play both offensive and defensive.
He has been able to turn on his offensive skills when needed and get points for the team. When Lowry and Siakam were out with injury he shot a 56 per cent on the field on 16 shots, according to Raptors Insider. He also plays defense well, averaging 1.5 steals in the 2020-21 season, second highest on the team, according to NBA.
The Raptors need a leader who is going to step up when other players are out. Injuries happen and players sometimes miss games but teams need a player who can fill those areas when needed. Anunoby is a great example of how a player can step up when they’re needed.
Anunoby is the kind of player all NBA teams are looking for when draft time comes around. The Raptors should be thankful to have such a talented young player in their starting line-up.
Anunoby is the future for the Raptors.