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How OG Anunoby Fits With The Knicks

OG Anunoby
(Wendell Cruz?USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Knicks acquired OG Anunoby from the Toronto Raptors along with Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn in exchange for R.J. Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and a 2024 second-round pick. Anunoby averaged 15.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.6, and 1.0 steals through 27 games with the Raptors this season. Here’s a breakdown of what Knick fans should expect of their new starting small forward:


Defensive Versatility

The Knicks lacked a wing defender with positional size and versatility to switch and guard the elite wings, such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Jayson Tatum. Now the Knicks get that with Anunoby. At 6 feet 7 inches, 240 pounds, with a 7-foot 2-inch wingspan, the former Indiana Hoosier has the size, length, strength, and lateral quickness to guard against multiple positions, from guards to smaller fives. The 26-year-old was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team last season. He led the association in total steals (128) and steals per game (1.9). He also ranked 4th in steal percentage (2.7 %). Anunoby’s stats have regressed in those categories so far this season. The reigning steals leader has 34 steals, averaging 1.1 per game, and has a 1.6 steal percentage through 31 games. Those numbers should improve under the tutelage of Tom Thibodeau.

Improved Offensive Player

In 2017, the Raptors initially drafted Anunoby to be an athletic defensive specialist who could provide a spark off the bench. Now, in his seventh NBA season, the former 23rd overall pick has become a career 37% shooter from three-point range. He’s become one of the more respected shooters around the league. Anunoby has only shot less than 35% from three once in his career (2018-19). He’s also a much improved free throw shooter who started his career shooting in the high 50s to low 60s. He shot a career-high 83% at the charity stripe last season.

However, there’s still some inconsistency at the charity stripe, as he’s currently shooting 74% this season. Overall, his offensive improvements have helped him become one of the better two-way players in the NBA.



Anunoby is one of the premier three-and-D wings in the association, which is why he was one of the more coveted players on the trade market before the Knicks acquired him on December 30th. His low-maintenance style of play can be easily integrated into any offense and is not a player coaches around the league need to run plays for or other players need to adjust to playing with. Anunoby is also an off-the-ball threat, whether it’s cutting for a backdoor lob or popping out for a corner three. Overall, he’s a prototypical wing who is highly coveted around the NBA  because of his physical profile and style of play. On paper, he should be a seamless fit playing next to Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle.

Championship Experience

One thing that’s overlooked about Anunoby’s seven-year career is his championship experience. He was a member of the 2019 Toronto Raptors, who defeated the Golden State Warriors in six games. Similar to his new teammate Donte DiVincenzo, Anunoby brings championship pedigree to the Knicks despite missing that title run due to an appendectomy (surgery to remove the appendix). Before his surgery, he averaged 7.0 points and 2.9 rebounds through 67 games during his second season.



Not a go-to-guy

Although Anunoby has shown improvement offensively, it’s clear that he’s more of a complementary player than a primary scoring option. Despite being one of Raptors’ featured players for the past few seasons, he’s only scored 30 or more points six times in his seven-year career so far. However, he won’t be asked to be a go-to guy since he’s now playing with two all-star caliber players in Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle, who demand a lot of attention from defenses as is. Brunson and Randle’s ability to penetrate and draw extra defenders to them should alleviate Anunoby’s weaknesses once he gets acclimated with the Knicks.


Suspect handle

The weakest part of Anunoby’s game is his ball handling, which stifles his ability to be a go-to guy. He’s not a natural in that regard dating back to his amateur days and often appears stiff and upright when dribbling. This weakness is also evident in his stats. Last season, Anunoby averaged as many turnovers as assists last season (2.0 in each category). Through January 7th, he averaged 2.5 assists to 1.5 TOs in 31 games this season. For his career, Anunoby averages 1.6 assists to 1.3 turnovers.


Early Returns

So far, the OG Anunoby trade has been a success for the Knicks. New York has won four straight since his debut on New Year’s Day. Through his first four games in the Big Apple, the British forward averaged 12.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals as a Knick. However, he’s still getting adjusted defensively, as he’s committed three fouls in three of his four games averaging 3.5 fouls per game. 

After the Knicks’ 121-105 blowout win in the nation’s capital against the Washington Wizards, they won’t play again until January 9th, when they’ll face the Portland Trail Blazers at Madison Square Garden. 



The acquisition of OG Anunoby was a win now move as the Knicks aim to be mentioned as one of the upper-echelon teams of the Eastern Conference. However, they may not be done making moves yet, as many media members believe this move to be a set-up trade for perhaps a star player. They’re still looking to move Evan Fournier, who is making $18 million this season with a $19 million team option for the 2024-2025 season. As for Anunoby, he’s also making $18 million this season but is up for a $19 million player option, which he’ll likely decline and ask for a larger salary. 


Meyer McCaulsky is a contributor on Back Sports Page. Along with receiving his Master’s degree in Magazine, News, and Digital Journalism, he has over a year in sports journalism and has interviewed a variety of people in the sports industry, such as Chris Williamson, Cameron Thomas, Jimmy Boeheim, and Jeremy Pope. McCaulsky has been a guest contributor on a YouTube podcast called Cut The Nets within BSP’s network. For more on Meyer, his X is @meyermccaulsky and Instagram (@m.mccaulsky).

For more articles by Meyer, click here.

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