On the latest episode of "Strictly Hoops with C.J. Miles", Amit Mann and C.J. Miles look at what's changed for O.G. Anunoby after his inconsistent offensibe start to the season. Listen to the full episode on the "Raptors Over Everything" podcast feed or watch on our YouTube channel
AMIT MANN: Well, people, you guys want more content, so let's get to the content. Trade thoughts. And I realize that trade thoughts is slowly becoming many more thoughts, but I like the use of trade with you. But I mean, there are so many things to talk about, and let's talk about--
C.J. MILES: Sometimes you get fouled.
AMIT MANN: No doubt, no doubt. Let's talk about that game last night. Miami Heat, OG Anunoby, let's start with him, because on our last episode, we were talking about, and many others were talking about his struggles. He looked pretty damn good yesterday.
C.J. MILES: I mean, I couldn't put it any better words than that. And the biggest thing is not, it's one of those games where a guy makes a bunch of 3's or something like that. He had a pretty good plethora of things that he was able to do. And the things you can tell he's working on. And then he's just motor. His motor is going to get him points also. But I think the more and more he can just build on it and understand that it's not going to be 32 and 10 every night, but this is a big pivot for confidence.
AMIT MANN: True.
C.J. MILES: And I just remember texting him after the game, like, let's [BLEEP] go, man. Like, like, just being, just letting them know that like that just to keep going. And that's the biggest thing, just don't stop.
AMIT MANN: Yeah. And the opponent in this case, I think was a factor, in a good way. That you just need sometimes, you need an easier opponent. And I'm only saying this in the sense that Miami, they lack wing depth, badly. And it was very evident when like Kyle Lowry is being posted up by OG.
You got Tyler Herro out there, you got Maxx Strus, you got Gabe Vincent. Good players, but they're mostly shooting guards, less point guard. So there was a size advantage, but that's sometimes that's all you need just to get yourself going. And he's been good for a couple of games. I really liked seeing how upright he was on his pull-ups. The pull-up game has been something that's been emerging over the past few seasons. And the balance was there. And that was a positive sign for sure.
C.J. MILES: And the thing with the smaller guards, like just attacking that, that's sometimes the game is that simple. And I think the more you can simplify the game, the easier it'll get for 'em to have games like this. It's like, all right, this is my advantage, I'm going to exhaust my advantage until they do something else to stop it.
They're going to play small guards, I'm going to bully them. And then if they put a bigger guy on me, we figure out something else. We run them off a screen or we get some of those dribble handoff offs and things like that. But as long as you're going to put a small wing or guard on to 250 pounds of me that I have, I'm going to make them feel it, exactly.
AMIT MANN: Yeah. Nick Nurse talked about that after the game, saying that it seems like OG's pivot a little bit more to strength and balance with his scoring instead of skill. And that's, I mean, use your strengths, right. That is what he's been to be able to kind of create, this self-generated offensive outlook that he now has been through that. The skill will come over time. But in the meantime, just use what you got.
And you mentioned some of the other actions the Raptors are running. It was a nice sign to see them doing actually some off ball movements, some off ball screening to get OG going, to get him downhill in the paint, just so the looks are a little bit easier.
C.J. MILES: And it also goes to how we describe skill, right?
AMIT MANN: Yeah.
C.J. MILES: Like his strength is a skill. Being able to move without the ball is a skill. I know we look at skill certainly as ball handling, shooting, passing, like things with the ball, but those things also are skills. There are guys, like, playing hard every night is a skill. Kyle Lowry taking charge is a skill. These are things that affect the game.
AMIT MANN: Sure.
C.J. MILES: And I think the more and more we can highlight things like that for the players and people watching the game, the more well-rounded looks we can get at it.
AMIT MANN: Now in the meantime, because Pascal is out obviously, and the looks are going to be a little bit different once Pascal returns, once they're healthy. So what are the keys for OG to find that balance where the looks are a little bit easier in a sense now because he's getting the ball in his spots, but when Pascal is back Pascal is going to get the ball in his spots because he's him?
OG, the offense is going to be a little bit different. It's going to be coming from maybe the mid-range. He's going to be asked to do some weak side off ball movement. Catch and shoot 3's, that kind of stuff is going to return. So what are the keys to making sure that he continues this kind of dynamic once the Raptors are eventually healthy? Because the injuries are ridiculous right now.
C.J. MILES: The first thing is on the off days, non-game days, and even in your pre game, making sure you're still polishing those skills, making sure you're still working on your catch and shoots and the things that were coming before those spots. Don't let those things kind of go to the back burner because you're getting different looks, because Pascal's out.
But the thing that that's promising about this, is that him gaining confidence and him showing that he can do these things while Pascal's out, gains more trust with the coaches and players to still make a way to find those opportunities for him, so they don't go away. That's the biggest thing about this time is to gain confidence from the coaching staff and the other players, and for himself, like to see himself doing it consistently.
AMIT MANN: Yeah.
C.J. MILES: So now it might not be eight post-ups, but I'll still get four, because they recognize that I've been doing this well. And it takes a load off. It gives Pascal less minutes of being in certain positions, Fred less minutes and times that he's on the floor without those guys.
AMIT MANN: Yeah. And like you mentioned, the bulk of his minutes will probably be alongside Pascal. But I've seen Nick Nurse try out a few, like four or five minutes stretches where OG is more of the primary ball handler, where he's getting those chances to be like the downhill threat, to orchestrating offense, to be the hub in some sense.
And it's been up and down so far this season, but these reps right now where he's gaining his confidence, it's going to help him be better utilized, execute better in those four or five-minute stretches. And then, hey, look, now the Raptors are all of a sudden, they have a better steady flow of offense happening when Pascal isn't on the floor.
C.J. MILES: 1,000%. And it's just him getting like you said, the reps without looking over his shoulder either. Like, knowing I'm going to get a little bit of leeway to try to be more aggressive and make some plays. And I think that that freedom goes a long way, because you don't have to feel as forceful as the game goes on now. I know I'm getting 38 minutes and I might get 20 shots tonight. I don't have to go search so hard for them. I can let the game give them to me.