Raptors forward OG Anunoby discusses injuries, playing alongside Thad Young, Pascal Siakam's evolution and whether he would like to be a mentor to younger players.
- [INAUDIBLE] I guess what are those things? What do you think that they should have worked on?
OG ANUNOBY: Just, I mean, more reps, more-- I think more reps, you get better, more game reps, you get better. So that would help everything-- help the team, help me.
- But how impressed were you with what you saw from Scottie Barnes this season? What do you think his improvement might mean to you guys next season?
OG ANUNOBY: I was really impressed with him, but I wasn't surprised. I knew he was capable of all this. Yeah, going forward, he's going to be a big part of everything, and so I'm excited for him.
- What did having Thad here mean to you?
OG ANUNOBY: It meant a lot. It was cool having him here. I've known him for a while. So it was weird he was my teammate, but it was cool at the same time.
- When you look at what you did during this playoff run, I'm sure a lot of the younger guys are looking up to you as a mentor, whether you want to be or not. Do you see yourself as that, in how you're able to perform in these very big stages?
OG ANUNOBY: Do I see myself as a mentor to them?
OG ANUNOBY: I mean, I guess yeah. Like, if they have a question or need some advice, I'll give them advice, answer their question. So--
- Do you ever see yourself as that person, though?
OG ANUNOBY: As a mentor?
OG ANUNOBY: If you want me to.
You want me to be?
- If you want to mentor me.
OG ANUNOBY: If you want me to be a mentor, I'll be a mentor.
- How to draw your owls.
OG ANUNOBY: All right, I'm a mentor, yeah. I'll be a mentor.
- OG, I mean, so much of the talk from the beginning of the season has been about the maybe unconventional roster construction, the interchangeability, positionless basketball that you guys have been playing. How did you see that vision develop over the course of the season? How much more comfortable did you guys get playing different positions, learning the positions, playing with each other?
OG ANUNOBY: Yeah, I think as the season went on, we got better and better with it. At first, we were unsure a little bit on the court of like, where to go, where people would be. But as the year went on, we definitely got better. And guys like, I don't know, just got used to their roles and figured out where they need to be, and then just started getting better and better as the year went on.
- Do you set specific goals for yourself in the offseason?
OG ANUNOBY: Just really to get better at everything.
- Have you learned anything about yourself in this playoff run, having as big a role that you did, really for the first time in the playoffs?
OG ANUNOBY: Did I learn anything about myself?
OG ANUNOBY: Just that I could do it. But I always felt I could do it, so--
- Did it feel good to kind of see that you were right?
OG ANUNOBY: Yeah, but I always thought that, so--
- How did you find your partnership with Precious, especially when you guys were defending the Embiid-Harden pick and roll, and like, switching no problem. Do you guys have similar [INAUDIBLE] in that way defensively? How do you find [INAUDIBLE]?
OG ANUNOBY: Oh, yeah, it's nice to have. I mean, there's a lot of guys like that our team, but especially with Precious, who can switch and guard Harden and take-- he can take Harden for one possession, or he can take Maxey. And we can switch and rotate, and just switch matchups and know there's no mismatch. So it's nice to have. But it was a lot of guys on our team like that.
- What do you make of the improvement that Precious-- like, where he was in October, November to where he is now and what he could potentially be?
OG ANUNOBY: Oh, yeah, with Precious, he just gets better and better, like, every month. And he works really hard. And he's already really talented. He came in really talented, but he just-- he works hard, he's really talented. That's a good match. So he's going to keep getting better.
- And you were talking earlier, joking about the leadership, the mentorship, that role earlier. When you take that, combined with the confidence you have in yourself, in your game, and where you are, do you ever take a moment to reflect on how far you've come since you first came in both on and off the court, and just how you've matured as a person, not only as a player?
OG ANUNOBY: I don't really think about that. I should, though.
And I will. But no, I have come far since I was a rookie. And-- I don't know. Yeah, I never thought about that. That's a good question.
- How has it been watching Pascal kind of evolve? Obviously, you guys have your relationship, but the ways in which he's defined what leadership means for him differently?
OG ANUNOBY: Yeah, he does it a different way. He's not as vocal. But when he is vocal, he's saying something that means something, so you know to listen. And he's always trying to help give advice. And he's never trying to steer you in the wrong direction. And then also himself, just being resilient.
OG ANUNOBY: And he works very hard, too. So the way he plays is not a surprise to anyone. Like, we knew he was going to have the year he had. He should make an All-NBA team, for sure. So he deserves everything he's getting.
- OG, Nick is always willing to try a lot of different things, right? And it seems like whether it's a vet, whether it's someone new, he gets a lot of buy-in. Why do you think he gets so much buy-in?
OG ANUNOBY: I think just the players all trust him. That's the main reason-- we trust him. And we know he knows what he's talking about.
And when you have a good coach, you want to listen. You want to play hard for him. You want to fight for him. So he has that from all his players.