An Ode to OG Anunoby

OG Anunoby, New York Knicks
OG Anunoby, New York Knicks / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

There are a plethora of former Indiana University basketball players who have gone on to do big things in their professional playing careers. Of all those Hoosier greats, there is one who actively stands above the rest as far as professional progression is concerned.

OG Anunoby may not have put up massive numbers during the pair of seasons he spent in Bloomington (6.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.9 BPG and 1.0 SPG in 50 collegiate contests), but his versatile skillset and contributions to a winning culture in B-Town were enough to warrant the Raptors 1st round pick (23rd overall) in the 2017 NBA draft. He played very well during his tenure in Toronto, but with his upcoming free agency looming and the Raptors once again slipping in the standings it became obvious that a change of scenery was coming.

At the tail end of December, that hypothetical change of scenery came to fruition when he was traded to New York. When you flip from one of the league's smaller market organizations to arguably the most polarizing franchise in the association, the spotlight is going to shine much brighter and the pressure is going to sprout much broader. With the Knicks looking to make a genuine playoff push this season, some wondered if Anunoby would be able to compose himself in the sport's most crucial moments..

Those thoughts of uncertainty that were once residing inside the minds of OG's doubters have since been permanently put to sleep.

OG Anunoby
OG Anunoby, Indiana Men's Basketball / G Fiume/GettyImages

While his poster slam over reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid sent the internet into a frenzy and boosted Anunoby's level of respect from casual basketball fans, true admirers of the sport have always held a high level of respect for what OG brings to the table.

The quirky offensive skillset that he showcased in college has continuously improved and expanded as the years have waned on (career 12.0 PPG on 47.5% shooting overall and 37.6% from 3 across 418 career NBA games), and his defensive acumen has continued to get better and better.

He is primarily known for the glue-like perimeter defense which earned him a spot on the 2023 NBA All-Defensive second team, but his 6'8", 240 pound frame allows him to take on time wrestling with some of the bigger bodies in basketball. For example, his spot minutes tussling with Embiid and his 7'0", 280 pound physique were purely pivotal in the Knicks prevailing over the Sixers in the 1st round of the 2024 NBA playoffs.

Joel Embiid, OG Anunoby
OG Anunoby, New York Knicks and Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Say whatever you want about OG Anunoby, but judging by his demeanor on the court it is clear that he does not take the words of his haters to heart. And judging by the work that he has put in on the NBA hardwood, it is clear that the wisdom he received from former Hoosier head coach Tom Crean went a long way in shaping the extremely dynamic NBA swingman that we see today.