O.G. Anunoby: 2022-23 Season in Review

O.G. Anunoby had a great season. Here's how.

The following guest post by Kyle Ramnarine is part of Raptors Republic’s series of pieces reviewing the season for the Toronto Raptors. You can find all the pieces in the series here. You can find Kyle on Twitter.

One of Toronto’s brightest young stars had himself an impressive year: O.G Anunoby. He’s one of the Raptors’ pillars for the future and continues to get better each season, and he proved himself as one of the top wing defenders in the league by earning a spot on the All-NBA Defensive Second Team. 

Anunoby was the 2022-23 steals champ, averaging a career-high 1.9 steals per game, also matching his career high with 0.7 blocks per game. He finished third in the NBA for deflections at 3.6 per game, right behind his Raptors teammate Fred VanVleet at 3.8. Anunoby had one of his healthiest seasons with 67 games played, after playing only 48 games last season and 43 the season prior.  He also played 35.6 minutes a game, placing him among the top 20 in minutes played. With each passing season, O.G’s minutes played per game have consistently gone up, and with this season being one of the highest he’s played he’s shown that when healthy, he can play high-intensity minutes, while guarding the best player on the floor and also helping the team getting it done on the offensive end for the Raptors as well. 

O.G. has come into his own on the offensive side for the team and has been a key part of the Raptors’ offence this past season. Since his NBA debut in 2017 where he averaged 5.9 points per game, his scoring has increased virtually each season to where it’s now at 16.8 points per game. Anunoby’s offensive rating for this season was 114.4, the highest it’s ever been for his career. He’s a shining example of what an elite level 3-and-D player should be for a team but has also shown that he can also help lead the Raptors and elevate his offence when other key players are out. 

In the 10 games he played without Pascal Siakam this season, all of his stats took a noticeable jump, compared to the 57 games he played with Siakam. In these 10 games, his points per game went from 15.9 to 22, rebounds went from 4.7 to 6.2, and his assists went from 1.8 to 2.6 per game. When the team has needed him to show out, O.G. has come through big time. With Fred’s future being up in the air, Anunoby’s role could shift from being mainly a spot-up 3-and-D player for the Raptors to a reliable third option behind Siakam and Scottie. 

Anunoby’s ability to hit the three-ball has developed into a shot that the team can rely on every time they come down the floor. He’s proved himself as the Raptors’ best shooter from beyond the arc, knocking down 38 percent of his threes on 5.5 attempts per game, right in front of fellow guards Gary Trent Jr and Malachi Flynn. Even though the Raptors dealt with a lot of shooting woes this past season, O.G.’s ability to space the floor was vital for the team. 

Anunoby favours the left side of the court when shooting the three-ball. He shot an impressive 47.7 percent from the left corner on 51 out of 107 shots, this is better than 80 percent of the players in the NBA. He’s far from just a corner shooter; he also shot 42 percent from the left wing on 21 out of 50 shots, which is also better than three-quarters of players in the league. However, OG isn’t afraid to let it fly from that right side if he has to, shooting both 38 percent on the right wing and 39 percent in the right corner. Combined with recently drafted Gradey Dick, the Raptors will be able to space the floor more effectively, allowing Siakam and Scottie to either drive in and kick out at a higher rate or allow their offence in the paint to flow better. 

Image borrowed from 3StepsBasket

His ability to drive to the rim, shoot from the mid-range, and create his shots off the dribble also took a step up this season. On shots that were 3-10 feet from the basket, Anunoby scored at his highest rate in his career, at 36.4 percent. It’s not elite, but it’s a foundation. Anunoby’s bread-and-butter from the mid-range was his shot from the top of the free throw line, where he often would drive and fadeaway slightly. He shot 48.6 percent from there, which would put him above 74 percent of players in the league. O.G. also averaged a career-high at the free throw line shooting 83.8 percent on 2.5 attempts per game, a step up from his last year at 75.4 percent. 

O.G. has managed to continue to evolve his game each year on the Raptors, both offensively and defensively, proving why he is one of the team’s most valuable assets and why other teams would love to have him. If the Raptors are planning on rebuilding for the future, Anunoby would be key to their development, as he’s still only 25 years old and continuing to hone his craft.

Defeating Doncic

One of O.G’s best games this year came on November 26th, 2022 where he had the challenge of slowing down the Dallas Mavericks’ star Luka Doncic. Doncic was coming off a red-hot game where he torched the Boston Celtics for 42 points while shooting 60 percent from the field.

The Raptors would need all 43 of the minutes from O.G. as he managed to make Luka’s life difficult on the offensive end. Anunoby would hound Doncic right out of the gate. At around the 4:06 mark in the first quarter, O.G. would herd Doncic right into VanVleet’s help defence, forcing Luka to make a dangerous pass which would get quickly picked off learning to a fastbreak. In this game, O.G. would also go over a lot of the screens in the pick and rolls that Luka ran, allowing him to actively pursue Doncic. This would also lead to some turnovers. In one possession in the third quarter, O.G. went over the screen, giving the illusion of a double team. Luka would think this is an easy dish for the roller. However, while O.G. applied that pressure on Doncic, the other defender fell back to the roller to pick off Donic’s pass leading to another turnover. Anunoby stayed attached, blocking Doncic. 

O.G.’s constant hounding and chasing of Luka made the difference in this game. He would end the game holding Luka to 24 points on 8 for 15 shooting with 4 turnovers. O.G. would also come away from the game with 2 steals and 2 blocks.

Despite his incredible effort on the defensive end, Anunoby got it done on the offensive side as well, scoring 26 points while shooting 9 for 19 from the field, with 2 three-pointers to go along with it. 

Luka would go on to complement the forward after his effort to help the Raptors win the game. 

Lakers Lockdown

On March 10th, O.G Anunoby exploded against the Lakers with 31 points while playing 37 minutes. He would shoot an insane 85 percent from the field on 12 of 14 shooting while also hitting 4 of his 6 three-pointers. He was blistering hot towards the end of the season, with no better example than this game.

Anunoby was everywhere on the court, torching the Lakers on defence, hitting shots from the corner, the mid-range and even taking it straight to the paint with no fear, right at Anthony Davis. The forward would also prove he is one of the NBA’s best defensive wings by finishing the game with 5 steals.

O.G. has shown us that he is capable of playing a high level of offence while remaining elite on the defensive end. If O.G. can remain healthy and keep getting better with each season, his potential is limitless for the Raptors, especially if they want to start developing a younger core.