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OG Anunoby aiming to replace Kawhi Leonard as Raptors’ starting SF

OG Anunoby, Raptors

Toronto Raptors small forward OG Anunoby is bracing himself to fill the void left by Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard, who was unarguably Toronto’s most important player in their title run last season, left the Raptors in free agency. The two-time Finals MVP opted to go home and pair up with Paul George with the Los Angeles Clippers.

While Kawhi’s departure was certainly a huge blow to the team, Anunoby vowed to “play hard” and get the starting small forward spot again. He pointed out that he learned a lot from Leonard — lessons which he intends to use to help the Raptors defend their title.

“It will be a priority for me, one of my goals,” Anunoby said on getting the starting SF job, per Josh Lewenberg of The Sports Network. “I’m just gonna go out there, play hard, and try to get my spot back.”

Anunoby is working to get back to 100 percent after undergoing an emergency appendectomy last April. Interestingly, Nick Nurse and the Toronto front office are expecting him to have a huge season once he gets his rhythm back.

Often considered as the Raptors’ best defender, Anunoby said last May that he wants to be like Leonard and do the stuff he do on both ends of the floor. Now, he will have the chance to show what he can do and if he can do it.

In the 67 regular season games that he played in 2018-19, Anunoby averaged 7.0 points and 2.9 rebounds per game while shooting 45.3 percent from the field and 33.2 percent from the 3-point arc.