After failing to crack the roster during last season’s all-star festivities, OG Anunoby has been named to the World roster headlined by stars Ben Simmons and Luka Doncic. Canadian Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has also been named to the World Team. Anunoby is averaging 7.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 0.7 assists, and 0.6 steals per game this season, and he’ll represent the United Kingdom on the roster.
Anunoby is midway through a tumultuous season for the Toronto Raptors. He has been in and out of the roster because of personal reasons, and his play has plateaued somewhat after a stellar rookie season. Though his minutes average (20.4) is almost identical to last year’s (20.0), his numbers are down across the board. Most telling have been the drops in his 3-point percentage (37.1 to 33.6) and free throw percentage (62.9 to 39.5).
Anunoby’s role has been in flux this season, as well. After starting 62 games last season, he is now coming off the bench after the team traded for talented wings Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.
Still, the sophomore out of Indiana has had a number of bright spots. Anunoby’s post defence has evolved to the point where the Raptors view him as a potential small-ball center in addition to Pascal Siakam, at least in very particular matchups. Though he hasn’t been a consistent initiator, he has flashed brilliance finishing over or around length at times. His right knee seems to be fully recovered since tearing his ACL, and his vertical burst can be downright frightening at times.
His length and athleticism mean Anunoby remains a valuable prospect. Ironically, he didn’t make the team last year when he was incredibly deserving, but he’ll make the team this year during a relative down season. That isn’t to say Anunoby didn’t earn this accomplishment. He is a great young player who hews closely to the moniker of ‘rising star’. Props to Anunoby, who will join teammate Leonard at all-star weekend. I’m sure more Raptors will join them in Charlotte, and the reserve rosters will be announced on Thursday January 31.