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NBA Trade Grades: OG Anunoby to Knicks

OG Anunoby Knicks
(John Jones-USA TODAY Sports)
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(John Jones-USA TODAY Sports)

NBA Trade Grades: OG Anunoby to Knicks

In a surprising Saturday trade ahead of the new year, the New York Knicks acquired OG Anunoby from the Toronto Raptors in a five-player trade. Let’s hand out some grades!

New York Knicks: A-:

Knicks receive: OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa, Malachi Flynn

This trade grade is predicated on New York re-signing Anunoby, an all-worldly defender who’s in the final year of his four-year, $72 million deal (per Spotrac), assuming he opts out of his $19.9 million player option this upcoming offseason.

Even the consensus might be a little lower on Anunoby than it was, say, a year or two ago, I’m not.

Anunoby isn’t the shot creator that Quickley is, but has been open about wanting a bigger role offensively. He also joins a squad that would rank No. 25 in 3-point percentage sans Brunson.

Anunoby is canning 37.4 percent of his triples (6.0 3PA) this year–including 38.8 percent of his spot-up attempts–after shooting 38.7 percent (40.8 C&S) on 5.5 triple tries per game a season ago. He’s also very good at attacking closeouts and possesses a sturdy 230-pound frame that’s difficult to move off his spot when he has a head of steam downhill, despite possessing a shaky handle.

Anunoby does not need the ball in his hands to provide value offensively, so joining a team spearheaded by Brunson and Julius Randle isn’t the worst thing in the world. Though I’m not sure his role offensively will be vastly different than it was in Toronto–which he’s voiced previously of something he’s desired but never really got.

More importantly, New York also lacks true wing defenders outside of Josh Hart, who it acquired ahead of last year’s NBA Trade Deadline.

Anunoby fits exactly that mold. He can guard up against smaller 5s as well as contain guards who aren’t incredibly quick. He’s very good with his hands on- and off-the-ball; he’s stout at swiping on ballhandlers, playing the passing lanes and generating deflections.

Anunoby is graded in the 95th percentile at defensive matchup versatility, 97th in matchup difficulty and 73rd in passing lane defense, according to Basketball Index (subscription required). He’s an elite perimeter defender and is your guy to better match up against Jimmy Butler, Jayson Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo in a playoff series–not Hart, respectfully.&nbsp;

As for Achiuwa and Flynn–I’m not incredibly confident either crack the rotation in New York, even though the former adds depth as a result of Mitchell Robinson’s season-ending injury. But they are still in need of a big ahead of the deadline.

They still maintain trade flexibility if a bigger move at the deadline or offseason appears, but if they can re-sign Anunoby to a bigger deal and allow him a (slightly) bigger role offensively, this is a good move for New York. It’s also worth mentioning he’s a part of CAA and his agent is Sam Rose, the son of Knicks general manager Leon Rose.

Toronto Raptors: A-:

Raptors receive: RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, 2024 second-round pick (Detroit)

Is Anunoby the best player in this trade? Sure, you could argue that. Will he be in the next 3-5 years? I’m not so sure–that title could go to Immanuel Quickley.

You could argue that Quickley is having the best season of his career in fewer minutes–he’s having a career-best year in scoring (15.0 ppg), field goal percentage (45.4), 3-point percentage (39.5), effective field goal percentage (54.9) and true shooting percentage (54.9). Though the “fewer minutes” conundrum is part of the issue.

Quickley minutes behind Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo, who signed with the Knicks this offseason, dropped nearly five per game, even though he was its biggest source of scoring production off the bench and one of their best guard defenders. He’s a spark–Toronto, ahem, needs a spark. Immanuel, meet Toronto.

This is also a welcoming homecoming for R.J. Barrett, who was born in Canada. Barrett’s New York tenure was rocky. He’s not an efficient shooter, an oft-shaky defender and truthfully needed a change of scenery. I think he’s a better slasher and playmaker than he gets credit for–especially in a free-flowing offense–but I’m interested to see how his touches differ from New York to Toronto with Pascal Siakam as the team’s lead initiator.

Quickley, on an expiring, will also likely get an extension this upcoming offseason; locking him down at a reasonable salary should be Toronto’s first priority heading into next offseason. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Raptors eventually offload Dennis Schroder and give Quickley the full keys to the vehicle.


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