It took some time, but OG Anunoby is starting to loosen up.
Speaking to TSN’s Kate Beirness on the team broadcast following the Raptors’ 117-112 win over San Antonio, the famously reserved fourth-year forward was asked about the outfit Gary Trent Jr. sported on the sidelines Sunday night. It was a bold look – a silk black button up covered in white swirls with matching pants and Aviators.
“He saw me wear it first,” Anunoby joked, evoking memories of his appearance on Serge Ibaka’s fashion show last season, when he claimed he was the one who put the former Raptors centre onto scarves.
“It’s crazy outside looking in, I always thought he was quiet before I got here, almost you could say Kawhi-ish in a sense in how he carries himself, but that’s not the case at all,” Trent Jr. said of Anunoby shortly after he arrived in the trade from Portland last month. The two have become fast friends.
“He’s very interesting. He has interests.”
For those that know Anunoby best, though, the biggest change in him has been noticed on the court. That’s where he’s really starting to look and feel more comfortable.
“He started out stiff as a cardboard box,” said DeMar DeRozan, who’s final season in Toronto was Anunoby’s rookie year. “Now to see how he handles the ball, how he drives the ball, his post game. I saw him a lot this summer, we worked out a lot this summer, and to see his skill set grow from when I first saw it speaks volumes of how much he loves and appreciates the game. He’s come a long way. He deserves everything that comes his way. I hope he keeps growing. It’s fun to see that, it’s fun to compete against that, and I’m glad I was a part of his career early on.”
Anunoby’s versatility and two-way upside was on full display in the win over DeRozan and the Spurs. With Trent and DeAndre’ Bembry nursing injuries, Kyle Lowry getting another rest night, and Fred VanVleet serving his one-game suspension, the Raptors had just one guard available, rookie Malachi Flynn. That shifted Anunoby, a small forward or small-ball power forward by nature, to shooting guard. He’s now started games at four of the five positions this season.