Rookie O.G. Anunoby Providing Raptors With Much-Needed Spark
The Toronto Raptors are finally turning things up and it has all been sparked by an unexpected source.
Sitting at 10-5, just four games back of the scorching hot Boston Celtics, the Raptors are winners of three straight and have received a much-needed boost from none other than rookie O.G. Anunoby.
“He has no fear,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey commented on his young swingman. “The young fella has no fear and that’s what we love about him, that he has no fear. But again, does he make mistakes? Yes. And our job now is grow him, cut down on some of his ‘oh crap’ moments that give up a three-point shot or backdoor, whatever it is. We have the patience to do that with him.”
The Toronto Raptors allow 9.9 fewer points per 100 possessions with OG Anunoby on the floor.
Oh, and he's a 41.2 percent 3-point shooter.
— Chris Walder (@WalderSports) November 15, 2017
After Norman Powell went down due to injury, it was Anunoby who was plugged into his starting spot. Since then, the Raptors have destroyed the high-powered Houston Rockets on the road, defeated the twin tower-led New Orleans Pelicans, and ran the New York Knicks off of their home floor. The Raptors are plus-48 in their last three games, all games in which Anunoby has started.
Good morning: OG Anunoby has the fifth best net-rating in the league, behind three Warriors and Anthony Tolliver.
— (((Eric Koreen))) (@ekoreen) November 15, 2017
Playing as well as any premier rookie in the NBA, Anunoby is starting to enter his own and find his niche with the team. Soon starting power forward Serge Ibaka will return. Norman Powell will be back in the fold soon enough as well. Once the two return, Casey will have some decisions to make, but they do not seem like they will be tough decisions either, all thanks to the Indiana alum.
Pascal Siakam has provided the energy the Raptors have needed in the absence of Ibaka and will be well suited coming off the bench, in support of Ibaka. C.J. Miles has begun playing good basketball and should continue to provide the Raptors with his solid three-point shooting off the bench. With Powell returning, he will be relegated back to the bench, or at least should be. For the past couple of years, Powell has been the spark the Raptors needed coming off the bench and if he returns to a bench role, with DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry resting, Powell can control the ball more as opposed to just playing off the ball where has has very clearly been far less effective.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) November 15, 2017
The pieces are all falling into place and this will leave Anunoby exactly where he belongs – in the starting line-up.
Losing Delon Wright to a dislocated shoulder is a tough one, but the past week has given the Raptors the confidence to be able to overcome it. The sample size is incredibly small, but boy is it promising. Anunoby can really play on both ends of the floor and as he continues to grow and learn, the Raptors will only get better as a team.
With that being said, it is time for the Raptors to get their revenge against the Washington Wizards today!