Pacers Draft Prep: OG Anunoby could be a lockdown defender

Indiana star OG Anunoby may already be a household name for Pacers fans. The sophomore declared for the upcoming draft and is ready to prove his critics wrong.

Before an ACL injury in January, OG Anunoby looked like the next NBA star in the making. He has incredible size and length, along with superior athleticism. Pacers fans may be acquainted with the Indiana product, and they should like what they see.

OG measured at 6-foot-7 with a remarkable 7-foot-2 wingspan, and his standing reach was 8-foot-11. His length gives him great potential on the defensive end of the floor. If he can get his knee fully recovered, his game is going to elevate to even higher levels.

Strengths

The length cannot be mentioned enough. A guy with arms that long is going to cause problems. Steals and blocks can come at a premium for Anunoby, and his frame is built for the NBA.  All of the physical tools and measurements are there.

Not only is Anunoby freakishly long, but he’s also freakishly athletic. Just watch his dunk vs. Maryland. Hopefully he can make a full recovery and continue putting unsuspecting victims on posters.

Anunoby also has the potential to be a great 3-and-D player. His numbers from deep weren’t great, but he has shown he can hit the open shot. His shot will grow with time and practice, and if he becomes an outside shooter, he will force defenses to game plan for him.

Indiana was not the same team when OG went down in January. The Hoosiers went 5-10 after his injury and they looked terrible in his absence. That speaks to his importance as a leader and playmaker.

Weaknesses

Stability has been a concern. Anunoby suffered an ankle injury in Indiana’s win over North Carolina and has the ACL injury as noted. He must prove that he can stay healthy if he wants to be a building block for an NBA roster.

His scoring ability is not something to brag about. OG averaged just 6.8 points per game in his career, but did manage to shoot at a 56.3 percent clip. Free throws were also a huge area of concern. He hit just 52.3 percent of his freebies at Indiana.

Anunoby’s overall game is not defined yet, but he has the potential. He has to first find what role and what position he fits before he can be a focal point.

NBA comparison: Kawhi Leonard.

I’m not saying he is going to be as good as the Spurs’ star, but he has a similar game. Both guys are long and defensive-minded. When Kawhi came in to the league, he did not have a very good jump shot, much like Anunoby. A non-star comparison for Anunoby is Andre Igoudala.

Recent CBS and FoxSports mocks have Anunoby going well before the Pacers are on the clock. If his knee causes him to slide a bit, the Pacers should think long and hard about the pick. His upside is through the roof.

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