The Indiana Hoosiers suffered through a disappointing 18-16 season and finished 10th in the Big Ten Conference. Despite missing the NCAA Tournament, sophomore forward OG Anunoby continued to display his incredible athleticism on both ends of the floor. NBA scouts are excited about Anunoby’s potential, and he is projected by all 2017 NBA Draft sites to be a first round selection.
Despite suffering a season-ending torn ACL knee injury in January, Anunoby flashed enough memorable moments during his abbreviated 16 game season to impress NBA scouts. He finished the year averaging 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
Anunoby was a tremendous defensive-minded player in his two years at Indiana. Let’s take a look at some of his strengths, weaknesses, and where he fits in today’s NBA.
Anunoby is one of the best all around athletes in this year’s draft. He measures 6’8” 215 lbs with a 7’2 1/4” wingspan that is an asset to his explosive vertical jumping ability. According to DraftExpress: Anunoby measured an incredible 8’11 1/2” standing wingspan, which further enhances his NBA value. His elite physical gifts allowed Anunoby to excel as a finisher in transition, and as a lockdown defender in the half court.
What makes Anunoby even more attractive to NBA teams is his potential. He is only 19 years old, and compiled a 36.5 percent three-point shooting percentage during his Indiana career. Anunoby also displayed tremendous offensive efficiency with consecutive seasons of 55.7 and 56.9 field goal percentages, proving he did not take careless shots.
It will be difficult for Anunoby to continue those high percentages in the NBA, but with some small improvements in his offensive game, he could average double digit scoring during his rookie season. Combining an improved offensive repertoire with his elite athleticism, it is not far-fetched to see OG Anunoby starting for an NBA team next year in the right situation.
Improving his offensive ability is Anunoby’s biggest goal. While his overall career three-point percentage was strong, his 44.8 freshman year percentage dropped significantly to 31.1 percent this season. With a much further NBA three-pointer (23’9”), it will be imperative for Anunoby to master a quality mid-range jump shot.
With his ability to attack the basket in the half and full court, Anunoby must improve his dreadful 56.3 percent free throw percentage. He is so active on the glass at both ends, those “cheap points” will be where he has the best opportunity to score.
Anunoby’s best fit would be a team that needs an athletic defender with scoring being simply a bonus. Many NBA teams feature a high-scoring starting lineup with one defensive stopper. Anunoby is so talented, but needs substantial playing time to reach his maximum potential.
One of the best landing spots would be the Indiana Pacers who own the 18th overall pick. With small forward C.J. Miles opting for free agency, they have a spot for a player like Anunoby to fill immediately. Other teams like New Orleans and Memphis also need a defensive-minded small forward, but would need to make a trade to have the opportunity to draft him.
Overall, OG Anunoby rates as one of the most athletic players in the 2017 NBA Draft. The potential is there as an every day NBA starter, and if Anunoby can improve his offensive skill set, he has already drawn comparisons to superstar Kawhi Leonard. An athletic wing player, who is only 19 years old, with an unlimited ceiling, is exactly the type of first round draft pick NBA teams are just waiting to select.