OG Anunoby Speaks Candidly on 1st Season With Knicks Ahead of Playoffs

OG Anunoby, New York Knicks

Getty OG Anunoby #8 of the New York Knicks.

The New York Knicks are heading back to the playoffs for the second straight season and third in four years under Head Coach Tom Thibodeau. They lost in the first round in 2021 and in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last season.

This time could be different, and OG Anunoby could be a big reason for that.

The former Toronto Raptors do-it-all player showcased his diverse skillset this season and appears to be in a good headspace heading into the playoffs.

“Oh it’s a great team, great organization. Front office is great. Fans are great. Great city. MSG is great,” Anunoby said, per the New York Daily News’ Kristian Winfield on April 14. “It’s been great so far.”

He’s proven worth the significant investment made in him and the one that’s likely to come.

Anunoby averaged 14.1 points on 59.1% true shooting with 4.4 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 1.5 assists, and 1.0 blocks in 23 regular season appearances with the Knicks.

Statistically, it would have been his worst season since 2019-20. But the Knicks were 20-3 with Anunoby in the lineup and 13-14 without him following his trade from the Raptors excluding the day of the deal.

He also led the team in on-off efficiency differential, per Cleaning The Glass.

Knicks Stand to Benefit From OG Anunoby’s Versatility

Former Knick and now Raptors star RJ Barret lauded Anunoby’s defensive reputation during his exit interview on April 15, noting he strives to improve in that area.

Anunoby’s versatility at 6-foot-7 and 232 pounds to fill various roles is key.

“I don’t know if I see anyone else in the league that…one night he’s guarding Anthony Davis and the next night it’s DeMar DeRozan, and the next night it’s Jokic and the next night it’s [Bradley] Beal,” former Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said, per Offside’s Adam Laskaris in March 2023. “It’s such a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and speed and strength and positions.”

That figures to bode well for the Knicks. With matchups playing a critical role in postseason success, Anunoby represents something of an ace up Thibodeu’s sleeve.

Anunoby logged time at the forward spots with the Knicks, per Basketball Reference.

But Nurse deployed him in various ways, with Anunoby logging time at all five positions on the floor during his four seasons under the now Philadelphia 76ers head coach. This could be a prime opportunity for Thibodeau to take a page out of his counterpart’s book.

The Knicks won’t have Julius Randle, so Anunoby can occupy some of those duties. But the Knicks will have to balance his workload on both ends.

Knicks Roster Built to Fluster Teams in Postseason

Anunoby complements what the Knicks already had in place because he is very much built in the same mold.

Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart both offer similar energy and toughness on the wings. And with Jalen Brunson at point guard and Mitchell Robinson splitting time with Isisah Hartenstein at center, the Knicks boast arguably the grittiest team in the postseason field.

Even when their offense sputters, they should be able to defend well enough to stay close.

Whether or not they have the makings of a deep postseason run remains to be seen. But their components are encouraging, even without the likes of Randle.