Title: OG Anunoby’s ready to ride playoff waves of emotion with Raptors
Date: April 14, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about OG Anunoby’s up-and-down rookie season and how it’s prepared him for the playoffs.
OG Anunoby was warned that this would happen.
When the No. 23 overall pick was cleared for an earlier-than-expected return to action in the preseason, things could hardly have gotten off to a better start. He made a great first impression, was the pleasant surprise of the first third of the season, delivered on his defensive promise early and flashed an offensive game beyond expectations for his rookie season. He had been told, though, that there would be valleys.
“Ups and downs,” Anunoby said Friday, reflecting on his rookie year with The Athletic. “They told me before the seasons started, Kyle (Lowry) and DeMar (DeRozan) told me, it’d come.”
The down eventually came. Through Dec. 20, Anunoby shot 46.5 per cent on threes and led the team with a plus-18.6 net rating, emerging as the team’s likeliest lock-down defender projecting ahead to the postseason. He’d shoot just 23.5 per cent over his next 31 games, posting the second-lowest net rating of any of the 11 rotation players (still a plus-4.7) and looking like he’d hit a rookie wall of sorts. Suddenly, a fixture of the Raptors’ starting lineup and a suggested playoff closer looked like he may be set for the Luis Scola role come playoff time, working only as a nominal starter and playing smaller minutes.