OG Anunoby
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

It’s obvious OG Anunoby has become severely underrated already in his short career. ESPN recently published their 25 under 25 list for NBA players and a few names were left off the list. Players like RJ Barrett, Dejounte Murray, and Keldon Johnson did not make the cut but there is another name that is especially egregious, OG Anunoby. I can think of a few reasons for leaving the 23-year old forward off the list. Like the Raptors severely underperforming this season with one of the worst records in the league or maybe it is because OG isn’t a man of many words although Gary Trent Jr has debunked that.

However, if you have watched OG over the past two seasons you’ll see that his play on the court does all the speaking for him. OG Anunoby is one of the most intriguing and talented players that is part of the Toronto Raptor’s young core featuring Fred VanVleet, Chris Boucher, Pascal Siakam, and Gary Trent Jr from the Norman Powell deal. At only 23 years old he has been tasked with guarding some of the greatest offensive players, the league has ever seen in high-stakes games.

As a rookie, he was thrust into the starting lineup to defend LeBron James, something he handled so well that he earned the praise of King James. In his second season, he was a key piece of the 5th ranked defense and eventual champions Toronto Raptors. OG has accomplished a lot in only 4 years in the NBA, and while he doesn’t have the Individual accolades some of the other players on the list do, his consistent improvements and potential have proven he deserves a spot.

OG Anunoby Is Headed To Stardom

With the departure of players like Kawhi Leonard, Serge Ibaka, Norman Powell, and Kyle Lowry continuing to age and take a step back on offensive responsibilities. OG Anunoby continues to find himself commanding the ball more and more without a drop in efficiency. He is simply built for the role of being one of the main focuses in a team’s game plan. Also, as we saw in last season’s playoffs versus the Boston Celtics that OG does not shy away from the big moments.

Each season his role has increased along with his minutes and shot attempts but he has continued to raise his shooting percentages. Right now he is Attempting 11.3 shots per game with 5.8 of them being three-pointers. Keeping that in mind, he is shooting 40% from three a career-high and has a .604 TS % which ranks 49th in the league ahead of players like Devin Booker, Tyrese Haliburton, and Jamal Murray who were all included on the 25 under 25 list. OG is continuing to surpass the expectations set for him which is why he is one of the most important players on the Raptors and was rewarded as such.

OG Anunoby Deserves Recognition And Praise

Anunoby’s expanding offensive game isn’t the only reason why everyone should be hopping on his bandwagon towards stardom. He is continuing to excel on the defensive side of the ball along with the increase in his offensive responsibilities. It may be easy to not realize the defensive stud OG is because of the Raptors’ Struggles on that side of the ball this season. But one highlight video of what he brings on defense will reassure you that Anunoby is the real deal on that end. He has the ability to guard 1 through 5 and shut down any opposing player while providing excellent help coverage.

Just last season Anunoby finished 13th in defensive rating and 14th in total steals once again finishing ahead of multiple players featured on the list. I know the main point of lists like 25 under 25 is to create controversy and start conversations about the most promising young players in the league. But they still made a mistake in leaving OG off the list. In a league where having a wing that can shoot above average from three and play above-average defensive is a rare and sought-after commodity. Anunoby has to rank at the top of the 3-D players that any general manager would want on their teams. He is the real deal and it’s about time he gets some recognition for it.