Nigerian-born British basketball youngster, Ogugua “OG” Anunoby Jnr has received a strong hint that he could return from injury early enough to be part of Toronto Raptors first ever appearance in the NBA Finals.
The 21-year-old forward, born July 17, 1997 in London, has been out injured since April, and missed The Raptors glory run, in which they beat highly favoured Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals.
However, The Raptors are going to need every player on their roster, to stand a chance at dethroning Golden State Warriors, and they are now seriously looking at Anunoby, who needed emergency appendectomy.
Anunoby first showed signs of greatness during college basketball for Indiana Hoosiers, after starring for Jefferson City High School.
During his senior season, he averaged 19.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game and was a finalist for Mr. Basketball in the state of Missouri.
In October 2014, Anunoby chose to attend Indiana University, despite offers from Georgia, Iowa, George Mason, and Ole Miss.
As a freshman in 2015–16 at Indiana, Anunoby appeared in 34 games, averaging 4.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.5 assists per appearance.
On January 18, 2017, Anunoby injured his right knee against Penn State, causing him to undergo season-ending knee surgery.
On April 10, 2017, he declared his intention to enter the 2017 NBA Draft and hire an agent, thereby ending his tenure with The Hoosiers.
On June 22, 2017, Anunoby was selected with the 23rd overall pick in the NBA draft by Toronto Raptors and he signed a rookie-scale contract with the Canada-based NBA outfit on July 9.
On November 14, Anunoby made his first career start, against Houston Rockets, finishing the game with 16 points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal in only 30 minutes.
By December 15, 2017, he led starter rookies in offensive and defensive rating, besides having the third most true scoring percentage and best turnover-to-assist ratio for a non-guard.
On April 3, 2018, he hit his first ever buzzer beater, against Cleveland Cavaliers and on January 29 was named a member of the World Team for the 2019 Rising Stars Challenge.
Sadly, he has not played in the playoffs yet this season, but a new report says he could return before the end of The Raptors run in their first ever NBA final series.
The Raptors are optimistic that they will get ‘OG’ back at some point but admit that spacing of games would help, in much the same way that long breaks between most games have helped Kawhi Leonard quite a bit.
Accoding to Ryan Wolstat, writing via @WolstatSun: “Anunoby Is a useful second-year forward who plays hard on both ends of the floor.
“Toronto is going to have a hard time matching up with the Warriors defensively, whether Kevin Durant plays or not.
“Having Anunoby available would help Toronto be more switchable and more adept at taking on some of Golden State’s smaller lineups.
“We don’t have a timetable for Anunoby’s potential return yet, but the way the Finals are spaced out (Game 1 is on Thursday, Game 2 is next Sunday) it could help get players healthy and ready.
“That could be good news for Kawhi Leonard, who sat out several games this year simply to rest.
“Leonard has looked a little banged up through these playoffs, as has just about everyone else.
“The bad news for Toronto is that this time between games could also help the Warriors get Durant ready to play.”