The Toronto Raptors have endured a plethora of injury woes to begin the 2022-23 campaign. While Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and Scottie Barnes have all missed considerable time due to injuries, OG Anunoby has remained a constant for the Raptors. Anunoby has played in all 24 games, averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, and steals per game. And in the process, the 25-year old forward received lofty praise from one of the league’s leading MVP candidates, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum.
On Monday night, Tatum went head-to-head with Anunoby for the first time this season. Tatum was simply too good for Anunoby who, try as he might, was unable to stop the Celtics forward from having his way. Tatum had 31 points on 11-24 shooting to lead the Celtics to a 116-110 victory over the Raptors.
Nevertheless, Jayson Tatum knew that his road to 31 points wasn’t a cakewalk, thanks to OG Anunoby, who’s been playing the best basketball of his career on both ends of the floor.
“I told him before the game started that I’d probably see him in Utah at the All Star Game. That’s how well he’s been playing. But I told him he’s not gonna play like an All-Star tonight,” Tatum said, laughing. “[He’s] a hell of a player, somebody I love competing against. [He’s] hell of a defender as well.”
OG Anunoby’s development has been nothing short of spectacular. Ever since Kawhi Leonard left in the summer of 2019, Anunoby’s game has progressed in a linear fashion, improving from year-to-year. And even Jayson Tatum is impressed by just how much he’s grown since their days playing together for the same AAU team.
“He’s someone I’m really happy for. Just to see how much his game has developed from when we were 15 years old ’til now,” Tatum added.
OG Anunoby will have plenty of competition for the All-Star spots, given the abundance of talent in the league right now. However, if he continues to play defense at such a high level, coaches may have no choice but to vote the 25-year old forward into the All-Star festivities.