Knicks: OG Anunoby’s impact likened to one franchise Hall of Famer

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at New York Knicks
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are searching for the right combination of talent to catapult them to a championship in what they hope to be as soon as this 2023-24 NBA season.

The front office is confident that after executing a deal for reigning All-Defensive 1st team member OG Anunoby, they are one step closer to making that goal a reality.

Knicks’ Anunoby Gets Grand Player Comparison

Stefan Bondy of the New York Post recently likened Anunoby’s potential impact on the team to Knicks great Dave Debuscherre and how the latter helped the Knicks transcend from perennial shortcomings against the Boston Celtics dynasty of the 1960s to champions themselves, saying:

“DeBusschere’s addition gave the Knicks somebody to guard the opposition’s elite wings and frontcourt players — whether Billy Cunningham or Gus Johnson or Connie Hawkins — but the larger impact is what the shakeup did for the rest of the roster,” Bondy started off by saying.

“The sample is small but utterly dominant. Anunoby’s plus-minus through 164 minutes is a ridiculous +115, a record for a player’s first five games with a new team. Not even DeBusschere could claim that number.”

When Debuscherre joined the Knicks ahead of the 1968-69 season, Willis Reed was among the best players in the NBA and Walt Frazier had established himself as a rock-solid two-way facilitator at point guard.

His otherworldly rebounding, coupled with his defensive prowess was a move that tipped the scales in the Knicks’ favor, much like Rasheed Wallace joining the Detroit Pistons ahead of their 2004 championship season or defensive stalwart Jrue Holiday helping the Milwaukee Bucks capture the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2021.

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Anunoby Brings a Plethora of Positives to the Knicks’ Core

Anunoby has the defensive capabilities to measure up to all three of those NBA greats, having a steals title under his belt. Something he brings that Debuscherre did not at the time of his arrival at Madison Square Garden is the championship experience.

His proven winning pedigree and development under four of the best defenders of this generation — Kawhi Leonard (2x DPOY), Marc Gasol (2015 DPOY), Serge Ibaka (2x Blocks leader), and Danny Green (2017 All-Defensive Second Team)– is already showing it’s worth in the Knicks’ five-game winning streak.

It may be a stretch to compare Julius Randle to Reed or even Brunson to Frazier, but both Knicks vanguards have scoring and playmaking chops that mesh well with Anunoby and what he brings to the table.

Plus, Anunoby’s scoring still has room to grow at only 27 years old. The only thing that will prove Bondy right or wrong is time.