Name: OG Anunoby
Weight: 232 pounds
Stats: 11.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.3 steals, 31.1% 3PT, 70.1% FG
Teams Visited: Trailblazers
Overview: Perhaps no top prospect in the draft is more of a question mark than OG Anunoby. A remarkably small sample size in his freshman year paired with a abruptly-shortened sophomore year leaves as much intrigue as it does unanswered questions.
What we know is that Anunoby is an elite athlete. Any fan who has seen him over the last two seasons will have at least one dunk that came to mind as I typed that last sentence. He’s a physical specimen that had elite jumping ability and a physical toolset to complement that.
To what degree does his injury change things? That obviously remains to be seen and is why Anunoby has fallen from a top-10 pick when healthy to 21st in DraftExpress’ latest mock draft.
There are also concerns about his game itself. Limits on offense leave many questions as to how impactful he can be on that end of the court.
But, again, to what degree an injury that will leave him sidelined for nearly a year changes things is the question NBA GMs and scouts will ask themselves on Thursday.
Strengths: You can’t start talking about OG’s strengths and not begin with his defense. Anunoby is an elite defender with a blend of speed, size and strength that makes him a nightmare.
Anunoby’s breakout performance, at least to the national media, came when he shut down Jamal Murray in the NCAA Tournament. This season, in the handful of games he played, Anunoby proved last season was no fluke. His ability to use his 7’2.25” wing span to contest shots while using his wide frame means he can guard any number of positions.
In the modern NBA, he’s a treasure. A wing player who can guard anywhere from the five in small ball lineups to the one? But Anunoby can become that type of player.
Players with the feel for the game like OG has also don’t come around often. He has instincts on both ends on the court that can’t be taught. You can teach a player who to dribble-drive. You can teach a player who to hit a pull-up jumper. You can’t teach some of the instinctual plays OG made.
A standing reach of nearly 9’ helps hit out on the defensive end and on the glass where he averaged 5.4 rebounds per game, nearly two of those offensive.
Offensively, he showed promised this season before going down injured. When he isn’t attacking the rim and dunking on any human being in his path, his improved jumper made him more of a threat. His point-per-game average jumped from 4.9 his freshman year to 11.1 his sophomore season.
While his three-point percentage went down last season, both years featured small sample sizes. His 45 threes attempted this year are only 16 more than he took last year and his shot will remain a work in progress. The form only need minor fixes.
Anunoby is also great at finishing at the rim. We all know he can dunk, but his nifty finishing through, over and around contact was underrated at times. He’s not afraid to do the dirty work, battle down low and fight for baskets.
Weaknesses: Much like you can’t start a strengths series without addressing his defense, you can’t start a weaknesses series without addressing his offense.
While OG made massive strides this year on that end of the floor, we never really got to see how far he came as an ankle injury limited him even when he returned before his season ended after just 16 games played.
Anunoby was a career 36.5 percent three-point shooter, but attempted just 74 threes in two years in Bloomington. His jumper isn’t pretty and, as previously stated, is going to need some tweaks.
Outside of three-point shooting and dunks, his offense is limited. He rarely showed a pull-up jumper or any sort of mid-range game and probably never will be a player who can curl off a screen and knock down a jumper.
On top of that, while there are many highlights of Anunoby driving down the lane and hammering, he’s still a straight-line driver. He’s not someone who can stop, change directions and continue driving. When he makes up his mind to drive, he’s going to go straight for the rim.
I’d imagine NBA defenders are going to close out softly on Anunoby until he can prove to be a knockdown shooter. When they close out hard, bringing over help defenders will thwart most of Anunoby’s drives until he can prove he can navigate through traffic.
Outlook: OG will be a first-round draft pick on Thursday, it’ll just be a matter of where. His draft stock has been all over the place not just this season, but in recent weeks. In October of last season, he was slotted 16th by DraftExpress and reached as high as ninth in January.
Post-injury, he plummeted to 22nd before moving up to, and remaining at, the 13-15 range since April. However, last week, Anunoby fell once again down to 22.
In the end, his final draft position will be determined by his medical test results and the comfort of the GM is in selecting him. Anunoby says he’ll be healthy by late November or early December, but he likely won’t be at full strength until very late this season, if at all this year. Which team can afford that sort of risk? Only Thursday will tell.