Trust, patience are required with OG Anunoby's scoring growth

On the debut episode of our new Raptors show, "Strictly Hoops with C.J. Miles," the former Raptor explains the mental and physical hurdles a player goes through when they're attempting to take scoring leaps. The full episode can be listened to on the "Raptors Over Everything" podcast feed or watched on our Yahoo Sports Canada YouTube channel.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: I want to talk a little OG Anunoby. I mentioned him, because I think some fans are-- they're like, huh. Is he more than a 3 and D guy? Can he be that dude? And we've seen some instances, this season where it hasn't gone necessarily as well. Don't get me wrong. When it comes to 3 and D, right? And that is a valuable skill set in the NBA, he is one of the best.

I mean, catch and shoot, 44% 40% 3 point shooter. The peel switching style of the Raptors play. Catching rotations, blocking shots, hustling just working and being versatile defensively. He's like, the creme de la creme. OK? But I'm sure for himself too, he wants to be more than a 3 and D guy. He should want that for himself.

And there's been some moments this season where he's getting the ball poked out of his hands. He's approaching those gaps that he mentioned, like [INAUDIBLE] and they're closing up really quickly, and then it's a turnover. But then yesterday in that 76ers game, there was a possession that he had, third quarter, five minutes left. He comes off a Scottie Barnes screen, and he curls.

Joel Embiid's right there. He's patient, patient, dives towards the basket. Hits a little floater. That's the progression that we're talking about. And so it's their form. It's gonna take time, but I think some fans are sometimes a little bit impatient?

CJ MILES: Yeah, so, everybody wants to continue to grow. Like, I think that's especially-- he's still younger on the younger side, too. Like this is year six, I'm not-- so how old is he, 24?

AMIT MANN: I think he's 25 now.



CJ MILES: So like-- and like, he's also been in a mix of this trying to grow with things coming in and out. Superstars change, things happening and still trying to grow within that. But no wonder there's like it's a real space that you can't get outside of right now. And now you get the chance to turn the corner. You turn it a little bit, and things don't go as fast as you want, either. And that;s the biggest thing on both sides.

Both of them got to remember that this isn't like an overnight thing. Like, we were saying the same thing about Pascal. But like, Pascal also had a few more minutes to get ready for his run off. Like, he had a little bit more training to get thrown into that fire. But he still had to go through it. It's a different approach, because he had the ball so much more in his hands.


CJ MILES: So it started to pick up a little faster, and that's the thing. Now he is the guy, so now we can't do the same thing with Pascal. He's got to figure it out as the game goes. And it's just about being patient, understanding how to grow within what we're doing in the scheme of things.


CJ MILES: And that's the biggest thing, though. Just being patient, but also being assertive. Stepping in your space when it's there. Like you said, those plays, them being patient. I talked to him about that play and just about him understanding the pace of the game and understanding where he's going, what he's doing, and not so being in a rush. Like, he's in control.

AMIT MANN: What did he say when you talked to him about it?

CJ MILES: No, we just agreed on it. I just pointed it out to him.


CJ MILES: It wasn't like, just-- it wasn't a question or anything. We just like-- like this one. And we're just like that type of thing. Just encouraging him, just trying to make sure he focuses on what he's doing well and how to do it more. Because a lot of times when you're trying to grow, you can only see what I'm not doing.

And as long as you look at it that way, you'll only see that. You'll never realize that you made the three plays in a row that you've been working on every day, because it's become second nature. So now you're not even looking at it, you're looking at what's next. Like, pay attention to what's going on and what's being presented to you all the time.

AMIT MANN: Positive affirmation, right? That acknowledges the things that you're doing well to make sure that when things aren't going your way, you can at least have that in your backbone that no, but there is progression happening here.

And it's gonna be different game to game. Yesterday against the 76ers, it just looked like there are a lot of cases where there's more space for him. And maybe the Raptors helped them out with that a little bit. In postups, driving towards the basket.

They're having some weak side actions happening on that side, strong sides, a less congested-- whatever the case is. But there was just more space for OG to do what he can do. And the bag right now, it's not the Pascal Siakam bag, which is OK. That's OK, because this is a progression.

But he does have a few pet moves that he likes to roll with. The step back, things of that nature. The bully ball, which is obviously very effective because he is 250 pounds. Wow! Doesn't look it.

CJ MILES: Solid.

AMIT MANN: Solid. He's solid 250.

AMIT MANN: So he's got that. So he's got that. And I think it's part of it, is this, like, using what you have. Working within your boundaries of yourself. Everyone has different boundaries. But honing in on that and mastering it, that's gonna become the best version of OG to me.

CJ MILES: Exactly.

AMIT MANN: And he's gonna get there. I think he will get there. It's just gonna need-- he needs time, and there's gonna be the bumps. But I'm excited.

CJ MILES: And you've gotta--

AMIT MANN: I want to hear more interaction between you and OG, though, throughout this.

CJ MILES: And you've gotta remember it. Also, I know we're talking-- we get excited and we're talking about like, who's doing what. It's beginning of the season, playing well. We also got to remember that it is only a handful of games. Which is another thing he's got to remember. To a player, five games can feel like six months, sometimes.

Just because everything's under a microscope. It's like, boom, boom, boom, boom. And then you look back, and they do a 20 game clip of your season. And through that 20 games, you might have averaged 16 and 8 and shot 44% from the three, but you're only remembering those three or four bad moments, you got to-- it's 82 games in a season before we start the playoffs.

AMIT MANN: May not even be talking about this version of OG once the season ends, right?

CJ MILES: Exactly.

AMIT MANN: You know?

CJ MILES: We won't even remember it.


CJ MILES: Except for this conversation.

AMIT MANN: We'll backtrack it. We'll play it.


- Siakam, the slam!