There once was a time when OG Anunoby was viewed as one of the few untouchable players on the Toronto Raptors roster. Long thought of as one of the most underrated and versatile defenders in the NBA with his offense improving every season, Anunoby is the archetype of the ideal Masai Ujiri player.
The script has been well and truly flipped in the last few months. On top of the fact that Anunoby’s offense has flatlined and his durability concerns have resurfaced following a wrist injury, rumors of Anunoby reportedly wanting out of Toronto dominated the trade deadline news cycle.
Despite concerns about how the Raptors are going to feed six different mouths on the offensive end following the acquisition of Jakob Poeltl, Ujiri kept Anunoby in town, citing the need to be patient with this roster. Unless you are part of the Franciscan Sisters and have a biblical level of patience, Anunoby’s leash in Toronto is as short as it has ever been.
After 26 minutes in Toronto’s loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Anunoby was just 1-2 from the field and came in at a gnarly -22. OG finished the game with just 7 points and a -30 mark on the ledger.
While he played exemplary defense on Donovan Mitchell in the first few matchups he had against him this season, OG was a key cog in Toronto’s pitiful defensive effort that allowed Mitchell to put up 35 in three quarters. This game was a big tank of gasoline poured over the anti-OG fire. Ujiri may have blown it by not trading him at the peak of his value.
OG Anunoby took 1 shot in 17 minutes in the first half, that’s actually impressive
— Adam Koffler (@AdamKoffler) February 27, 2023
Reports coming out after the trade deadline hinted at the idea that Toronto could have gotten up to three first-round picks in addition to a standout player in an Anunoby trade. While none of those reports mentioned what the protections on those picks were, one could surmise that a player of his caliber could fetch at least one unprotected first.
Anunoby has consistently underperformed when asked to take on a greater role with the ball in his hands. He could alleviate those concerns by being a lights-out 3-point shooter, but the combination of rust following his injury and general hesitation has made him a player that isn’t contributing on offense.
OG has scored more than 20 points in a game just twice since December 9, which is a far cry from the exhibitions he put on to start the season. Even if the Raptors decide to move off him in the offseason for a collection of young players and assets, this stretch is only going to put dents in his value.
Do not look at the OG Anunoby game log
— 🍿 (@The_6ix_man) February 27, 2023
Anunoby still has a ton of time left if he wants to rectify this, but his total body of work over the last few months hasn’t been the most impressive basketball ever played. Ujiri will likely remake this roster in 2023, and it remains to be seen if Anunoby is going to be a part of this new-look unit.