The Toronto Raptors came into the NBA Draft with few knowing what exactly they were looking to do and the team came away with Indiana’s OG Anunoby with the 23rd-overall pick Thursday. Anunoby is an England-born Nigerian combo forward who offers the club lots of promise defensively.
Here’s a little more on the new Raptors rookie.
Name: OG Anunoby
Position: Small forward/power forward
Weight: 235 pounds
Drafted: First round, 23rd overall by Raptors in 2017
Former school: Indiana
Raptors taking a slight gamble
Right off the bat, it’s important to acknowledge the Raptors are taking a slight risk with this pick. Anunoby injured his right knee in a Jan. 18 contest against Penn State and had to be shut down for the season after undergoing surgery.
This injury likely cost him several draft spots, but it could work out to the Raptors’ advantage, as head coach Dwane Casey told reporters shortly after the pick was made.
Knee injuries are scary things to hear about, and taking a player in the first round just coming off surgery is a risky proposition, but Raptors president Masai Ujiri has never shied away from taking gambles in the first round (see Bruno Caboclo) and this is just further evidence of that.
Plays a familiar style
So why take the risk in the first place? Simple, he has potential to be an elite NBA defender. In fact, as Casey said, he’s a lot like a player many Raptors fans will already be familiar with.
Yes, at six-foot-eight and a chiseled, Adonis-like 235-pound frame, Anunoby has the size, strength, lateral quickness and tenacious approach on defence required to guard all five positions – you know, sort of exactly like P.J. Tucker.
Unlike Tucker, however, the Indiana product doesn’t have much of an offensive game to speak of. His shot mechanics are very stiff and will require a lot of work, but that isn’t to say he can’t eventually develop at least a consistent corner-three jumper the same way Tucker did.
He’s a superb athlete
So he doesn’t have a jump shot, but he is a remarkable athlete. The major way he’ll separate himself from the Tucker comparisons is from his incredible bounce. Just look at these dunks:
Oh yeah, his hops also make him a feared weak-side defender as well:
Stylistically he might be more akin to Tucker, but something tells me many-a-Raptors-fan will be seeing flashes of Bismack Biyombo in the young man’s game.
His brother is no slouch either
Interesting fact, Anunoby’s brother is probably every bit the athlete he is.
Chigbo Anunoby is a 28-year-old who has played two seasons in the NFL, spending time with the Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings.
He’s already an NBA meme
Fran Fraschilla should be a very familiar name to Raptors fans. After all, he is the one who said Caboclo was “two years away from being two years away.” Well, the ESPN analyst was back at it Thursday night, but this time the meme he inadvertently created has a far more positive tone.
Yes, his description of Anunoby as a “sexy blogger pick” certainly captured the imagination of NBA twitter. Here’s some examples:
For better or worse, Anunoby will now and forever carry the “sexy blogger pick” mantle.
No pressure rook.