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This OG Anunoby NBA Draft profile features an Indiana Hoosiers forward with loads of potential.
OG Anunoby – 6’8″, Forward, University of Indiana, 19 Years Old
On Jan. 18, 2017, Tom Crean‘s Indiana Hoosiers were dealt a huge blow. Arguably Indiana’s best player, sophomore wing OG Anunoby, went down and clutched at his right knee. Two days later, the Hoosiers would learn that Anunoby tore his right anterior crucial ligament (ACL). Anunoby’s future was uncertain, particularly in regard to his stock in the 2017 NBA Draft. In his two seasons as a Hoosier, the stats don’t tell the whole story. Anunoby averaged 6.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals, and 0.9 blocks in 17 minutes per game over two college seasons.
Anunoby is built for the current iteration of the NBA. As a 6’8″ wing with a ridiculous 7’2″ wingspan, his physical tools check all the boxes. His wide shoulders and quick feet allow him to guard almost any position on the floor. Along with his lateral quickness, Anunoby is an explosive athlete, allowing him to protect the rim and rebound well for his size. Anunoby’s athleticism transfers well over to his transition game, where he is already a great finisher.
The number one strength for the former Hoosier is his potential based on physical gifts. His size and athleticism are as if someone created him in a lab and, with enough training, every part of his game seems like it can be turned into a plus.
The biggest issue for Anunoby is his playmaking and handle. He is nowhere near being able to isolate or manage an NBA pick-and-roll. His dribbling motion is sloppy and needs some major tightening. He also struggles to pass effectively. Anunoby doesn’t seem to have the innate instinct to make any pass except the common one.
If Anunoby can’t create well, then he will need to be a three-and-D player. During his 16 games as a sophomore, Anunoby shot 31.1 percent on 45 attempts from beyond the arc. While not horrible, that number will certainly need to rise for Anunoby to get anywhere near his ceiling. He will be greatly helped by the NBA lifestyle. No longer will he have to spend four hours every day in a classroom; instead, he can spend that time working on his jumper with development coaches.
The other part of Anunoby’s game that he struggles with is his decision making. He gets charges when driving and he makes silly mistakes such as traveling. He’s reminiscent of a 13-year-old 6’8″ kid who doesn’t quite know how long his arms are and sometimes trips on his own feet.
The final factor that has to be mentioned when talking about Anunoby is his potential for injury issues. ACL tears are nowhere near as damaging as they once were, but they can still affect a handful of careers every year.
Despite the weaknesses portion of this profile being longer than the strengths, Anunoby is still a great prospect. Coaches, particularly quality development ones, can’t wait to get their hands on him. He exhibits every physical trait that a coach could want and doesn’t try to play outside of his skill set. For example, he is not a great mid-range shooter, as evidenced by his 56.3 percent rate from the free throw line. But since he was aware of this, Anunoby decided to take only four mid-range shots during his entire sophomore campaign. He has potential to be an elite defender in the league, as well as a quality third scoring option on a championship team. He has all of that, plus the potential to play small ball five.
NBA Player Comparison
In his early years, I expect Anunoby to fill a similar role to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. His ceiling is much higher than Hollis-Jefferson’s, to be fair. As for the apex of his career, Anunoby could become a rich man’s Trevor Ariza. He has a higher defensive ceiling than Ariza and a similar offensive skill set. The final name that has to be mentioned next to Anunoby is Kawhi Leonard. Leonard had a very similar profile coming out of San Diego State due to his athleticism and freakish length. However, it’s hard to go that far simply because few players in NBA history have improved their jumpshot and handle as much as Leonard has.