Toronto Raptors 2019-20 Player Review: Anunoby returns to OG status

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OG Anunoby was the weighted blanket to the Toronto Raptors’ long, sleepless night that was the 2019-20 season.

The name Oguagua means “comfort me” or “the consoler.” What a fitting description for the third year pro. After a disappointing sophomore season filled with personal tragedy and professional shortcomings, Anunoby rebounded with his best season yet. While he was in need of consoling last season, OG spent this entire season providing consolation to anxious Raptors fans and teammates — with timely buckets that saved a stagnant offense, or defensive wizardry that stymied the opposition.

OG Stats-you-know-me

Anunoby’s raw numbers barely scratch the surface on what he accomplished, but OG compiled solid stats across the board: 10.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.7 blocks, 50.5 FG%, 39.0 3pt FG%, 70.6 FT% — all career-highs. Delve a little deeper and his advanced stats match the eye test.

OG hustled — and he hustled hard! According to CleaningTheGlass.com, OG was in the 70th percentile among all forwards in Offensive Rebounding % on missed Field Goals during the regular season. He jumped to the 93rd percentile in the playoffs. His Block % ranked in the 75th percentile in the regular season and also jumped to the 93rd percentile in the playoffs. Finally, his Steal % was in the 89th percentile among forwards in the regular season. These numbers are especially encouraging when considering he even played a chunk of minutes at centre during Toronto’s series against the Celtics. His defensive progress down low opened up the small-ball section of Nick Nurse’s anthology-sized playbook.

As for the “three” section of the 3-and-D role he’s mastering, OG’s outside shot was everything Raptors fans had hoped for. Anunoby shot 40 percent from the corner, 36 percent on non-corner threes, and 39 percent overall from three — all above average for forwards. Overall, OG was an efficient scorer during the regular season, capable of increased usage. Kawhi Leonard’s departure, and to a certain extent Danny Green’s, led to a significant jump in minutes for Anunoby, from 19.3 to 29.7. Yet his effective field goal percentage (eFG%) rose from 53.8 to 58.0 percent, which ranks in the 86th percentile among forwards during the regular season.

I Put You On Scarves

Alright, enough with the stats dump. Let’s get to what you all came here to see: endless videos of OG Anunoby.

It’s both ironic and iconic that the most soft-spoken Raptor in franchise history supplied the two most memorable videos of the season. The first occurred in early February. Only a week had passed since the tragic news of Kobe Bryant’s death. Positive or uplifting news was impossible to find. The Raptors were trying their hardest to bring smiles to faces, as they were in the middle of their record-breaking 15-game win streak. Enter Avec Classe.

The basketball world needed a pick-me-up and OG Anunoby, the Consoler by name, delivered. What ensued after this video only added to the virality of this iconic event.

Indiana Pacers v Toronto Raptors

Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images

Indiana Pacers v Toronto Raptors

Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images

I Don’t Shoot Tryna Miss

If OG was the hilariously dead-panned character Toronto needed off the court, he was the consistently focused player the Raptors got on it. Whenever the chips were down, Anunoby always came through. In the regular season, with the shot clock was deemed “very late” (4 seconds or less), OG had the highest field goal percentage in the NBA, with at least 50 attempts. Anunoby (26-for-51) and Nikola Jokic (62-for-124) were the only players to eclipse 50 percent shooting in those instances.

With 0.5 seconds left and the season on the line against Boston, that information proved to be very, very useful.

And now with some music….

…and more music…

…and a lot more music.

Let’s not forget the reactions of Celtics fans….

…and other Celtics fans analysts.

This is the part where I mention the importance of that shot. I won’t. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then please go back and re-watch all the various musical montages above. In fact, go bacl even further, and remember what you felt after Daniel Theis put the Celtics up two with half a second remaining. With the prospect of going down 0-3, Twitter fingers were ready to pounce on Pascal Siakam (their time would come) and cement Kemba Walker as the Raptor Killer, except OG Anunoby did THAT! I’m speechless!

Putting OG Anunoby’s season into words is difficult because his impact stretches far beyond counting stats, viral videos, and the occasional buzzer-beater. Toronto’s last loss before the pandemic was in Denver. The team’s only visit to the Mile High City was marked by the worst combination of absences (which says a lot about the season), as Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka, and Marc Gasol all missed the game due to injury. Anunoby came through in a big way with 32 points (career-high), seven steals (also career-high), seven rebounds, and three 3-pointers. That’s the largest point total, along with the other admittedly arbitrary stats, by any player in NBA history. His growth and versatility not only opened the door to small ball lineups, but may lighten the blow if Ibaka and Gasol both head out of Scotiabank Arena.

Whenever it appeared the Raptors needed a pick-me-up, OG Anunoby was there. The fifth scoring option on most nights was there to get buckets whenever his seldom used number was called. Tasked with defending the opposition’s best scorer night-in and night-out, Anunoby consistently came through with active hands, quick feet, and incredible defensive instincts. An off-season of uncertainty awaits the Toronto Raptors. There’s a great deal of comfort knowing one of the few certainties is having an Oguagua on the team.