NBA Draft Profile: OG Anunoby
Measurables: 6’8, 232 lbs, 7’2 wingspan
Statistics: 11.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.3 BPG, 31% 3pt
Anunoby’s strengths primarily come from his frame and defensive abilities. He terrorized collegiate offenses with his defensive range and on-ball defense. In an era where switching and positional versatility is paramount, OG couldn’t have chosen a better time to join the NBA. He can guard every position on the court with success. His quickness and length allow him to corral point guards, while his developing strength enables him to hold his own against modern centers. NBA games are more open(more space to operate) than college games and this is something that benefits OG on offense. He is a smart off-ball weapon as a cutter and a transition weapon, and excels finishing at the rim from driving closeouts or dump off passes. He should be able to step right into the NBA and play valuable minutes for any team while he develops his strength and shooting accuracy. OG is a project, but a project that could be as disruptive defensively as a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Kawhi Leonard.
Anunoby’s career arc is dependent on one thing, shooting. He already has the defensive skills to garner minutes, but if he can develop his shot he can become one of the elite 3-and-D players in the league. This past season he shot 31% from 3 and 56% on free throws, numbers that will not make NBA coaches happy. If Anunoby can shoot 70% or more from the free-throw line and 35% or more from 3pt land, he will have a long career. Anunoby as a player lacks offensive polish. He lacks the ability to create shots for himself and others off the dribble and is an average passer. The offensive skills may never come, but that was never what drove Anunoby’s ceiling. As long as he can become an average shooter in the NBA, he will be worth any pick in the late lottery.
If I could hand pick any team in the first round that Anunoby would be the best on, I would choose the Portland Trail Blazers. The Trail Blazers, with the backcourt of McCollum and Lillard, are sieves on defense. They struggle to stop opposing guards and lack any real stoppers outside of Al Farouq Aminu whose best days are behind him. Terry Stotts is an excellent coach and strategist who would put Anunoby in the best position to succeed. The Blazers need a guy who they can automatically pencil in to guard the other team's most potent offensive threat, and Anunoby can be that as soon as his rookie year. Within a year or two, it is not beyond my imagination for Anunoby to make an all-defensive team.
Anunoby, to me, compares to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Kidd-Gilchrist was a better college player, and is a better in transition than Anunoby, but both had the same deficiencies coming out of school. MKG is still working on his jump shot, and with every passing year it becomes more and more doubtful if it he will become reliable beyond 15 feet, but that in and of itself shows the value that Anunoby can provide. Despite being a liability on offense, the Charlotte Hornets struggle without their defensive lynchpin, and if he became a decent shooter that team could be infinitely more dangerous. Even if Anunoby never progresses offensively, he has a role in the league.