OG Anunoby has only been with the New York Knicks for four games, but head coach Tom Thibodeau already likes what he’s seen so far.
Per Stefan Bondy of the New York Post, coach Thibodeau lauded Anunoby’s serious approach to the game, and expounded upon how his hustle and energy can speed up chemistry building and free up offensive opportunities, saying in part:
“And each day, he’ll get better and better and guys are starting to figure him out, as well. So that takes a little bit of time,” Thibodeau said.
“But help where you can, hustle, be in passing lanes, get deflections, help out on the boards, play physical, run the floor, move without the ball. Those are things that he does great. And then as time goes on, he’ll find more places where he can get scoring opportunities, too.”
Anunoby Giving The Knicks What They Invested in on Defense
Anunoby has been a rock-solid tertiary option for the Knicks thus far. Dealing with his hustle, Anunoby has recorded 2.2 deflections per game on the year and _ since coming to New York.
Though he plays with pace, Anunoby is a pleasure to have on the defensive end, disrupting passing lanes and providing a mature NBA body that’s able to contain slashers.
Anunoby’s net rating has skyrocketed from 5.5 with the Toronto Raptors to 29.6 with the Knicks, though only four games in.
He gives the Knicks sound outside shooting and is able to muscle his way inside for scores around the rim. Anunoby is not a player that requires the ball at a high usage rate to be effective offensively.
A mixture of his defensive capabilities and unselfishness on offense offers his Knicks teammates an addition that requires little to get acclimated to their system.
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Is Anunoby’s 12 PPG a Reason to Panic?
Anunoby’s scoring will likely increase as Thibodeau alluded to, especially toward the end of the season when teams get into playoff mode. His 12 PPG likely won’t carry over for the rest of the season.
The Knicks’ slow offense lacks off-ball movement and variation, but if Anunoby can facilitate both, camaraderie will be strengthened.
The big question mark is whether or not Anunoby will be able to step up if Jalen Brunson or Julius Randle struggle in any given game should they make the playoffs. His defense is proven. His offense will need to be proven as well.