Title: Raptors practising patience with OG Anunoby a challenge for both team and player
Date: July 14, 2017
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I caught up with Raptors rookie OG Anunoby and wrote about the difficulty with remaining patient in July.
“Didn’t the shrink know that waiting was one of the things that drove people crazy?” —Charles Bukowski
Patience is next to impossible at this time of year. The Raptors moved swiftly to re-sign two of their star players, and questions about how to shed salary soon followed. They got out from under DeMarre Carroll’s deal, and the conversation shifted to what they could then add. C.J. Miles was brought in, and quickly the question becomes who the Raptors might be able to add at the fringes of the roster.
This is what the chaotic free agency period does, with the five-day moratorium leveraging the collective anxiety of fan bases to create a sense of urgency that is perhaps not entirely misplaced. Even when teams appear to be done their shopping, well, we have two-and-a-half months until training camps, and there’s always a player or a trade for fans to plead for.
It can be difficult, then, to look at the snapshot of a young team’s depth chart and project. Among competitive teams, the Raptors have often skewed youthful. Even as their core ages, that should once again be the case this year. Raptors president Masai Ujiri and company have placed an emphasis on player development because it’s difficult to build a team via free agency in the NBA. If a team pays a lot for the top of their roster, it will need youth to fill out the rest and provide meaningful depth.
There are still names out there with varying degrees of attractiveness, but with a toe on the luxury-tax line and the spectre of the hard cap they’ve triggered hanging over any move, the Raptors will to need to put their faith in Delon Wright, Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl. Heck, Bruno Caboclo stands as the fourth wing or third power forward on the depth chart right now, depending on how you draw things up.
Almost forgotten in the whirlwind of the off-season has been OG Anunoby, the team’s No. 23 overall pick in last month’s NBA draft. Pencilling in Anunoby for any role in the 2017-18 season is an exercise in both faith and patience. Still recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the middle of his sophomore season at Indiana University, Anunoby likely won’t be ready when the season begins, and bringing along a rookie mid-season can be challenging. The Raptors need forwards, and they need high-end defenders, both of which Anunoby figures to be. But here in July that still leaves the Raptors in an unfavourable spot.