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Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors Report Cards: Has OG Anunoby taken the expected leap in 2019-20?

With the NBA season being suspended indefinitely, we're taking the next couple of weeks to roll out our Raptors Report Cards on each key member of this season's team. The plan? Take a closer look at how everyone performed, from Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam to Terence Davis and Chris Boucher.

After focusing on Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet, it's time to dive into OG Anunoby's season.

You can usually tell what an NBA player is going to be by his third year in the league. It's the leap year.
Toronto Raptors fans have seen both Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet experience jumps in their third seasons. OG Anunoby is no different.
After being selected 23rd overall in 2017, Anunoby showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie season. Despite starting 62 games for the Raptors and helping them win a franchise-record 59 wins, he was omitted from the NBA's All-Rookie team. However, those that watched closely expected Anunoby to be a key component in the Raptors' future.
An up and down sophomore season ended with Anunoby becoming a champion, albeit from the sidelines as he watched Toronto's historic run through the playoffs after undergoing an emergency appendectomy just before the start of the postseason.
The wild Raptors offseason pushed Anunoby back into a starting role with the departure of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. And with both of them gone, Anunoby would be asked to take on some of the scoring load that left with them.
And he's filled in admirably.
Through 63 games, OG is averaging 10.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals on 50.7% shooting from the field and 38.1% from three - all career-highs
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His mere presence on the court has the Raptors scoring 111.1 points per 100 possessions. When he sits, that number drops to 108.6 per 100 possessions. Only Pascal Siakam's time spent on the bench has a greater impact on the Raptors' scoring this season.
Anunoby has registered 32 double-digit scoring efforts this year and the Raptors hold a 25-7 record in those games. Simply put, Anunoby has been quite important to what Toronto has been trying to do on the offensive end of the floor.
The fact that the Raps have seen very little drop off in terms of their offensive rating compared to last season despite losing Leonard and Green is in large part to Anunoby's growth on that end of the floor. However, it was the defensive end of the floor where Anunoby showed the most promise after his rookie season.
It was baptism by fire for OG in his first playoff run in the NBA. In round one of the 2018 playoffs, he did an adequate job of guarding both Bradley Beal and John Wall, and it didn't get any easier when LeBron James was the next assignment in the second round of the playoffs.
With Leonard and Green on the team a season ago, his defensive responsibilities weren't quite as robust, but ahead of this season head coach Nick Nurse made it clear that OG would be the primary defender once again, adding: "He's got a desire to go out and guard people, and he's got the tools to do it too."
Anunoby's defensive versatility has been on display on a night-to-night basis, as NBA.com's Scott Rafferty pointed out early this season.
The 22-year-old truly has the ability to guard 1-through-4 and can certainly hold his own against centres if need be. If the Raptors are going to make another deep playoff run, they'll need OG to guard some of the East's best wing players.
Assuming the season returns, the Raptors will likely have to go through any combination of the Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks on their route back to the Finals.
If the 76ers somehow figure things out and make it through to the second-round, Anunoby could be matched up against All-Star Ben Simmons, the player he's spent the most time guarding this season, according to NBA Stats matchup data. The Heat's Jimmy Butler, the Celtics' Jayson Tatum and reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo could all also be potential matchups for OG to tackle.
When healthy Toronto can find offence, but they need OG's defence if a championship repeat is in the cards.
Grade: B-

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