In advance of the 2017 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops will be breaking down a wide variety of players that could be available for the Atlanta Hawks at either No. 19 or No. 31. The series will stretch throughout the month of June and today’s installment centers on Indiana forward OG Anunoby.
There is a shroud of uncertainty surrounding OG Anunoby for a myriad of reasons. The former Indiana standout suffered a season-ending knee injury midway through his final campaign in Bloomington and, before that, there was buzz that his stock was slipping. Most of that comes as a result of offensive uncertainty but, on the flip side, his ceiling is quite high based on the combination of his talent and measurables.
Let’s get the negative out of the way first. OG Anunoby might be the worst offensive player in the first round right now. There are a few “project” big men that could give him a run for his money but Anunoby is a giant question mark on this side of the ball.
On the bright side, the talented forward did shoot 56.3 percent from the floor across two seasons at Indiana and that is nice in that he seems to have an understanding of what he can and cannot do. His jumper doesn’t appear to be broken from a form perspective but a career 52.2 percent mark on free throws also isn’t terribly encouraging.
As a finisher, Anunoby uses his length (6’8 with a 7’2 wingspan) effectively and has been able to complete plays that you would not necessarily expect. With that said, he can’t create at all for himself (or others) right now and he profiles as a relatively limited offensive piece.
Here is where Anunoby will make his money in the NBA. Big men will almost always have the highest ceiling defensively but Anunoby looks like a future All-NBA Defensive Team member to me. Comparisons to Andre Roberson make a ton of sense in that, even if he doesn’t project well offensively, there is real value to be gained.
The knee is a legitimate question mark but, before the injury, Anunoby was displaying the combination of length and strength that made him tantalizing. As noted above, his wingspan is tremendous and he is very “switchable” given his willingness to mix it up. It is also quite easy to be impressed by the high basketball IQ he displays on the defensive end and, given the premium placed on players with this level of versatility, it would be wild if he was healthy and did not become at least a rotation-level player.
Fit for the Atlanta Hawks
Based on mock drafts that are available, it would be a surprise if Anunoby fell to No. 19 overall. With that said, the injury issue opens the door to some degree and the Hawks could be in a position to snatch him up at that spot.
Offensively, Anunoby would not help the spacing issues that the Hawks currently have. However, he profiles as a very interesting “Hawks University” case with regard to his jump shot and it would be hard to find a better organization in this range in which to develop his skills.
Potentially pairing Anunoby with Taurean Prince would be tantalizing on the defensive side of the floor, even if not ideal given the lack of anything approaching a primary scorer. For me, Anunoby would represent one of the best case scenarios for Atlanta should he be available on June 22.
Realistically, there is a relatively small chance that OG Anunoby is on the board for the Hawks but an NBA team will receive a potentially dominant defensive player that isn’t a zero offensively. That is an extremely valuable player and, for his sake, let’s hope Anunoby’s knee health isn’t an issue moving forward.