(Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated)
According to reports, former Indiana Hoosier OG Anunoby may have an opportunity to return back into action for the Toronto Raptors after needing an emergency appendectomy at the beginning of the 2019 playoffs.
This news comes at an opportune time for the Eastern Conference Champions as they have an upcoming seven-game series against an offense-hungry Golden State Warriors team, who will potentially have 10-time NBA All-Star Kevin Durant back from injury.
OG Anunoby was then later upgraded to “Questionable” status prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals. To be clear, the current expectation is that he will not play in Game 1 of the NBA finals.
With an average of 38.7 minutes per game during these playoffs, Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard could seriously benefit from just a handful of extra minutes on the bench. Who better to step in for serviceable minutes at the small forward position than a versatile OG Anunoby to go up against a position-less Warriors team?
OG Anunoby has not yet seen a game in this year’s NBA playoffs, but he finished the previous playoffs with an average of around 8 points and 2 rebounds in 24 minutes of action per game. Notably, OG fired at a 44.8% clip from behind the arc during the 2018 NBA Playoffs.
OG Anunoby against the Golden State Warriors
Of course as Hoosier fans know, OG Anunoby’s greatest utility does not reflect on the stat-line. OG earns his salary with his athleticism and insane wing-span. The combination of which allows him to guard nearly any position on the floor 1 through 5. The 6-foot-8 small forward has a +10 inch wingspan margin at 7-foot-6.
His best defensive showcase in an Indiana jersey was IU’s second round match in the 2016 NCAA tournament against rival Kentucky. The Hoosiers pulled away victorious largely due to Anunoby’s ability to deter a smaller and quicker Jamal Murray from getting open looks.
Earlier this season, the Raptors matched up well against the Golden State Warriors and won both times the two teams played. Toronto won the first game at home by a margin of 3, but more impressively dominated the road game at Oracle Arena with a winning margin of 20.
In those games, OG Anunoby stretched across a number of defensive assignments. He guarded the likes of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and Jonas Jerebko. Lock-down help-defense is one of the keys for Toronto to be successful in the finals, and OG Anunoby’s flexibility can be an integral component of that success.
OG Anunoby Statistics for the 2018-2019 NBA Season
After NBA superstar Kahwi Leonard joined the Toronto Raptors during the 2018 offseason, OG Anunoby no longer owned the first-string role in the small forward position. Despite playing off the bench for the majority of the season, OG Anunoby saw nearly the exact same amount of usage from Raptors’ head coach Nick Nurse.
On the season, OG Anunoby has averaged 20.2 minutes per game. Out of 67 games that he has played in, he has only started in 6 of those contest. On a per game basis, the former Hoosier averages 45.3% on field goals, and shoots at a 33.2% clip behind the arc. OG tallies just under 8 points per game for the Raptors. His rebounding has increased to 2.9 boards per contest.
2019 NBA Finals Schedule and How-to-Watch
- Game 1 (Thursday, May 30th 9:00 pm EST): Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors on ABC
- Game 2 (Sunday, June 2nd 8:00 pm EST): Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors on ABC
- Game 3 (Wednesday, June 5th 9:00 pm EST): Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors on ABC
- Game 4 (Friday, June 7th 9:00 pm EST): Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors on ABC
- Game 5* (Monday, June 10th 9:00 pm EST): Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors on ABC
- Game 6* (Thursday, June 13th 9:00 pm EST): Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors on ABC
- Game 7* (Sunday, June 16th 8:00 pm EST): Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors on ABC
* If Necessary